SRINAGAR: A total of 7,267 metric tonnes of apples have been imported from Iran and Afghanistan to India’s largest fruit market, Azadpur, in the last 35 days, contrasting with the shipment of 89,000 MTs of Kashmiri apples during the same period.

According to the news agency KNO, valley fruit growers and dealers assert that the influx of Iranian apples has led to a more than 40 percent reduction in demand for Kashmiri apples.

Responding to claims of substantial losses to Kashmir’s horticulture sector, authorities initiated an exercise to assess the quantity of imports from Iran and Afghanistan.

As per figures accessed by KNO, in the last 35 days (October 10 to November 15), a total of 29 MT of apples were exported from Iran to India’s biggest fruit market, Azadpur Mandi, New Delhi.

Official figures state that during these 35 days, 89,000 MT of apples were shipped from the valley to Azadpur mandi. Simultaneously, from Afghanistan, a total of 7,238 MT of apples were imported to Azadpur fruit mandi during the same period.

Manzoor Ahmad Mir, Deputy Director Central, Horticulture, Planning, and Marketing department, mentioned that the valley’s fruit industry has not been significantly impacted by the influx of Iranian and Afghan apples.

“Our country has a free trade policy with Afghanistan, and during the last 35 days, 7,238 MT of apples have been imported from the country. From Iran, which is subject to export duty, 29 MT of apples were exported. During the same time, Kashmir shipped 89,000 MT of apples, suggesting that these imports from both these countries are comparatively less than the quantity of apples shipped from Kashmir,” he stated.

Mir highlighted that the market demand for Kashmir apples this year has been high. “We had better market demand for Kashmiri apples this year. Our growers got better rates in different markets of India,” he said.

Despite this, growers and dealers have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing concern over the flow of Iranian apples via the Wagah border. The letter highlights a reduction in rates of Grade ‘A’ Kashmir apples and urges the imposition of a ban or 100 percent excise duty on Iranian apples to alleviate the worries of fruit growers in the valley, Himachal, and Uttarakhand. (KNO)


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