News Details
Blame it on Kashmir Floods, Apples are Now 18% Costlier
03 February 2015

Apple has become costlier by 15-18% in the retail market over the past 10 days as the recent floods have wrought heavy damage to the crop in Kashmir, the region that accounts for nearly half the country’s local supplies. Growers and traders expect the prices to go up further. They also predict an increase in imports. Arrivals of the juicy succulent fruit from Jammu & Kashmir’s Shopian and Sopore districts at Asia’s biggest fruits and vegetables wholesale market at Azadpur in Delhi have come down by 30%-35%. Growers in Himachal Pradesh, another major producer, say price of apples from their state is expected to appreciate by up to 20% and may see a further upswing in November-December, the time when arrivals from Kashmir usually pick up. “Arrivals of apples are much less in the last 10 days. It has affected the wholesale price,“ said Sushil Kumar, a supervisor at the Azadpur mandi. “A 16 kg box which was costing around Rs.900 a week or 10 days ago is now costing Rs.1,000. This has happened because apple orchards in Jammu & Kashmir have been affected due to the floods.“ The floods in J&K have caused a loss of Rs.1,000 crore to the apple crop in Kashmir, threatening a collapse of the horticulture industry in the state, a report from the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry said. While this has left a devastating impact on growers, consumers should be prepared to pay high prices during the festivals and rest of the winter season, it said. Baramulla, Kupwara and Sopore, the worst-hit districts in the floods, are also the largest producers of apple. According to the Assocham report, horticultural production of the state contributes about half of its Rs.2,000 crore agricultural revenue. Apple accounts for 86% by value of the state’s horticultural output. The state produces 1.6 million tonne of apples annually. Ravinder Chauhan, president of the Apple Growers Association of India, said there hasn’t yet been any major increase in the prices of Himachal apples. “There may be a price hike of 10%-20%. The real impact will be felt in November and December,“ he said. As supplies from rest of the country will not be able to make up for the loss, dependence on imports will also increase, said DS Rawat, Assocham’s secretarygeneral. Wholesale market organisers in Delhi are projecting a more than 60% fall in the quantity of apples from Kashmir this season, he added. Mohinder Stan, chairman of the Agriculture Produce Market Committee, Shimla and Kinnaur, said a 20 kg box of Himachal apples is now available for Rs.1,200-1,300. “But this may go up to Rs.4,000 in November-December if arrivals from Jammu & Kashmir fail to meet the demand in the market,“ Stan added. (Source: The Economic Times, Mumbai, October 03, 2014)

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