Srinagar- Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers and Traders Association on Wednesday demanded a blanket ban on the import of Iranian apples.
They said the supply of Iranian apples is a serious threat to the century old Kashmir apple industry.
Addressing a press conference, president of Kashmir valley Fruit Growers and Traders Association Bashir Ahmad Bashir alleged that with the arrival of Iranian apples in the markets, the prices of Kashmiri apples have considerably dropped.
“The supply of Iranian apples in the country’s markets has reduced the rate of Kashmir apples and now the demand for Kashmiri apples in the markets is also very low”, Bashir said.
The President said: “In the last few days, the rate of Kashmiri apples has dropped from Rs. 1200 per box to Rs. 600 per box.”
He said apples packed in a box value Rs 600 and Rs 300 per carton are charged for transportation to reach to the market besides GST has been increased from 12 percent to 18 percent. “how could we afford to sell a carton of apples at such a low price”, he added.
He appealed the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to impose a complete ban on the import of Iranian apples in the Indian markets.
Bashir said, “the central government did not pay any heed to our appeals made time and again to stop the import of Iranian apples to Indian markets as it has caused mental depression to the fruit growers”.
“We also had a meeting with the Union Agriculture Minister but he did not take any action to stop the supply of Iranian apples”, he alleged.
“We have also written letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lt Governor Manoj Sinha regarding the import of Iranian apples in Indian markets but nothing has been done so far ”, Bashir said.
“If the slogan of “Make in India” is to become true, then why are apples being imported from Iran?” Bashir questioned.
He urged the government to take appropriate measures to protect the Kashmiri apple which is the backbone of the economy of Kashmir Apple industry.
He said about 70 to 80 per cent of people of Kashmir valley are earning their livelihood from this trade. (Agencies)