Kashmir reaped bumper apple crop in the year 2018 with a over 18 lakh metric tonnes of production.
As per official records, Kashmir produced 1851723 metric tonnes of apples during 2018.
Director of Horticulture Department Kashmir, Manzoor Qadri told Rising Kashmir that 2018 produced a bumper apple crop however rates were not good.
“141135 trucks were loaded with 191300 metric tonnes of apples which were exported to other states of India,” Qadri said.
Kashmir is the major apple producing state in India. Apple is cultivated over an area of 146327 lakh hectares of land in Kashmir.
Director horticulture said that almost one lakh metric of apples are stored in Kashmir.
“In Mandis about 2 lakh metric tonnes of apples are still available which will be used till April,” he said.
Kashmir, according to Qadri, contributes 70 percent of the total apple production in India.
“In India total apple production is approximately about 27.5 lakhs MTs and 20 lakh MTs are produced from J&K,” he said.
Tasaduq Mueen, Nursery Registration Officer of Horticlture department said that that climate and other agro-ecological factors of Kashmir are ideally suitable for the cultivation of apples.
“The most important factor in the cultivation of apple is proper selection of varieties which have commercial value and are also suitable for effective cross-pollination,” he said.
Mueen said that Lal Ambri, Sunhari, Akbar, Firdous, Shireen, Shalimar Apple-1, Shalimar Apple-2 are the new varieties of Apples released by SKUAST-K.
Apple cultivation first started in Kashmir in 1930s, when it covered just 12,000 hectares in north Kashmir’s Sopore. Over eight decades, it emerged as a major contributor to Kashmir’s Gross State Domestic Production (GSDP).
However, the famed Kashmiri varieties of Ambri and elicious are vanishing from the market, Mueen said.
“The varsities need to step in to preserve these local varieties,” he said.
However, President Fruit Mandi Sopore, Fayaz Ahmad Malik said that one way road was the basic problem in exporting the fresh fruits.
“Rates are declining from last few years and apples are not exported on time,” he said.
Malik said that they are spending a lot of money in exporting it to other countries but unfortunately rates are very less which results in huge losses.
“Last season rates were still better but this season despite good crop we got very less rates,” he said.