Over Rs 1,000 crore worth of apple crop has been damaged in Jammu and Kashmir because of devastating floods, and consumers across the country should be prepared to pay high prices during the coming festival season, said an Assocham study.
“Floods have washed out Kashmir apple’s crop worth Rs 1,000 crore leaving a devastating impact on growers and the collateral damage for the consumers in rest of the country,” the industry body said.
Consumers should be prepared to pay high prices in the coming festival and winter season, it added.
“With the supply line closed from Kashmir, the price of apple has already started shooting up and the ensuing Navratra season will see further jump by 40-45 per cent,” Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said.
As the supply from rest of the country will not be able to make up for the loss, dependence on imports will also increase, he added.
Rawat also mentioned that Kashmir apples have already lost a huge market share to those grown in other North Indian states due to the low prices of the latter variety.
The wholesale market organisers in Delhi are projecting more than 60% fall in the quantity of apples from Kashmir in the entire season, according to Assocham’s assessment.
The study also found that apple growers in the hilly state fear the disastrous year of business as extensive damage has been reported in the worst-hit districts of Baramulla, Kupwara and Sopore, which are the largest producers.
Production of Apple, which is the mainstay of Kashmir’s economy with a turnover of Rs 1,200 crore a year, is about 1.6 million tonnes annually.
Apple production accounts for 86% by value of the state’s horticultural output worth Rs 1,000 crore.