Srinagar, Nov 13: Heavy flow of Iranian apple into Indian markets has again started bothering valley apple growers, who claimed that they are facing losses for the last half-a month.
Apple growers told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), cheaper Iranian apple varieties have started making their presence in the Indian market, which has brought down the demand and rates for Kashmiri apple.
“Kashmiri apples this year had a great demand. We had a very little apple crop due to which the rates were high. But now like previous years, Iranian apples are entering India via Wagah border in huge quantities,” said North Kashmir Fruit Growers Association, president Fayaz Ahmad Malik.
He said the imports of Iranian apples have been coming for the last 15 days which brought down the rates of apples by more than Rs 600 per box.
“Only two weeks ago, our apple box would sell at Rs 1000- Rs1300 in various fruit markets of India. But now we are selling per box at Rs 800, which is very less given the quality of apple,” Malik said.
Malik said they have been appealing to the government to impose a duty on the import of Iranian apples.
“Iranian apples right now sell at Rs600 per 10.5 kilograms. It is too cheap to invade our market across India,” he added.
Pertinently, in 2021, when Iranian apples started denting the market of local apple produce of India, farmers from Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh formed a joint group to fight against illegal Iranian imports.
Data suggested that Iran exported 1947.19 tonnes of apples valuing USD 1.82 million from April 2021 to January 2022.
The import of Iranian apples happen despite the central government earlier this year prohibiting the import of apples where the cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) import price is less than or equal to ₹50 per kg.
With a huge quantity of apples still lying in stores and cold storage, farmers are worried that they may face huge losses ahead.
“I have almost 800 boxes of apples in cold storage. Furthermore, a lot of apple boxes are already in the store. If Iranian apple imports continue, we may face immense losses,” said Mohammad Akbar, an apple grower—(KNO)