Shimla, January 16
Apple growers of Himachal and Kashmir are enduring losses due to “heavy import” of the fruit from Iran. They are incurring a loss of Rs 400-500 per box of the fruit stored in cold stores.
Selling at half the price of local produce
- Growers claim Iranian apple selling for Rs70-80/kg across states
- It has hit demand for similar quality local apple, priced at Rs150/kg
- Growers incurring Rs400-500 loss per box stored in cold stores
- Want govt to put curbs on imports
- Representatives will meet Union Agriculture Minister soon
“We are hardly getting Rs 1,500-1,600 per box against Rs 2,200-2,300 last year. The cheap Iranian apple has flooded the market and there is no demand for our produce,” said Aurobindo Bhimta, an apple grower from Baghi. The situation is more worrisome for Kashmiri orchardists as they are yet to sell their crop. “We have around 1.5 crore boxes stored in cold stores and another 1 crore boxes at home. There is no demand. We are getting Rs 700-750 per box, a drop of around 40 per cent,” said Mir Mohammed, president, Fruit Growers Association, Kashmir.
Growers say the Iranian apple has entered every single market. “I was in Mumbai and Bengaluru a while back. The Iranian apple was available for Rs 70-80 per kg and the quality was good?” said Neetu Chauhan, an arhtiya grower. The growers feel the government must step in to save the local produce. “Why does the government need to import apple when our own stores are packed? It will kill the local produce,” said Amar Singh Dogra, a grower from Kotkhai.
Harish Chauhan, convener, Hill State Horticulture Forum, which comprises apple growers of Himachal, Kashmir and Uttarakhand, warned that their business would suffer severely. “If the storage option becomes unviable, the entire fruit will come to the market, leading to glut and slump in prices,” he said, adding the forum would meet the Union Agriculture Minister on the issue.