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J&K’s loss could be Himachal and Uttarakhand’s gain

The famous apples of Kashmir have failed to arrive in the market this season following devastating floods in the valley.

However, the real picture of the crop is yet to be assessed, top Jammu and Kashmir government officials told Business Standard on telephone from Jammu. But preliminary estimate suggest the loss may be 30 to 70%.

“We assume that the loss of the apple crop should be around 30 to 70% owing to floods in Kashmir,” said Anil Sharma Director Horticulture, the Jammu and Kashmir government.

But Sharma said since the connectivity in Kashmir is still down, the department is finding it difficult to assess the real picture of areas like Sopore which is known as the apple belt of Kashmir.

The failure of arrival of apple crop in the market has firmed up the prices of apples from Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand which are also in high demand these days.

Apple companies in the two states are likely to make big profit this season due to the disappearance of the famous Amri and other apple varieties of Kashmir.

The prices of apples have already reached Rs 60-65 a kg in the markets of Delhi, Lucknow, Kanpur and other big cities of the country, said L P Semwal, Director the Uttarakhand-based Himalayan Fresh Produce Pvt Ltd, one of the biggest apple companies in north India.

The Himalayan Fresh Produce Pvt Ltd, an Indo-Dutch joint venture, would procure 1500 tons of apples in August-October season this year in Uttarakhand.

Initially, the company had hoped to sell the apple at Rs 50-55 a kg in the market. Since the second week of September when floods hit Kashmir, the apples prices started shooting up, Semwal said.

The market sources said the prices of apples are likely to firm up further in the coming days.

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