Protect vital interests of Kashmiri orchardists: NC MPs
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference on Tuesday voiced concern over the swarming of Tax-free import of Iranian apples into India asking GOI to safeguard the interests of local farmers from Kashmir.
Drawing the attention of GOI towards the havoc played by illegal dumping of Iranian Apples in India, the party MPs Muhammad Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi stated that the quantum of cheap Iranian apples entering India illegally is eating into the Kashmiri apple’s market share. “Losses incurred due to the illegal import of Iranian apples into Indian markets has resulted in a dip in demand for local apple produce as a result of which over 3 Cr apple boxes are lying unsold in Kashmir division,” they said.
Pointing out to the illicit import and dumping of Iranian apples into Indian markets arriving via Afghanistan/Dubai, the NC MPs deplored that the situation has put the whole lot of our fruit industry in J&K in a very precarious situation as the cheap fruit entering into Indian markets is eating away the share of Apples from J&K across the domestic Indian markets.
The MPs further argued that the tax free entry of Iranian apples will have a cascading effect on the Kashmir economy. “If growers do not get a good price for fruit outside the state mandis, they will stop using cold stores. Usually orchardists store some part of their produce at cold storage facilities that have cropped up across the valley in the last few years in the hope of selling fruits in off seasons to reap rich dividends. In wake of the unchecked dumping of Iranian markets into Indian markets, farmers would refrain from storing their produce and using the cold storage facilities. If growers do not get a good price for their fruit outside J&K mandis, they will stop using cold stores. Such a scenario would impact hundreds of people whose livelihoods are associated with cold storage facilities,” they said.
“Over 3 crore apple boxes are lying unsold in Kashmir, farmers are worried as cheap Iranian apples have flooded the markets which resulted in a dip of over 50 percent in demand of Kashmiri apples and our fruit is currently fetching much lesser prices in comparison to last year,” they added.
The illegal dumping of Iranian apples in the country, the NC MPs said is not only disastrous for small and marginal growers of Kashmir but also result in huge losses to J&Ks economy. “The situation therefore demands to regulate the illegal, and tax free arrival of Iranian apples via Afghanistan/Dubai in the country in order to save our Horticulture Industry,” they added.