Get ready to pay more for juicy Kashmiri apple as the supply of one of the most sought-after fruits has dipped by around 40 percent. This is the second consecutive year when Mumbaikars will not get good quality Kashmiri apples. The crops this year were damaged due to a reduction in the number of times fungicide and other chemicals are sprayed.
The lockdown has left a severe impact on the annual trade of Kashmiri apples as the crop growers could not fungicide adequate number of times due to unavailability of labourers, leaving the crops damaged.
Taushik Ahmad of Abasi Traders from Kashmir said that this is the second consecutive year when they are staring at a huge loss. “Last year, the excess snowfall damaged the crops, and this year, the sudden lockdown affected the yield,” said Ahmad. He added that the quality is substandard and they will not get a good price this year.
Even at the Mumbai Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) in Vashi, the fruit is available at minimum Rs 80 to Rs 90 per kg. However, the premium quality is going upto Rs 200 to 250 per kg in the wholesale. The retail price of any kind of apple is not less than Rs 130 per kg. “There is a dip of 30 to 40% in the supply of apples and the quality is also not good,” said Sanjay Pansare, director of the Fruits Market in APMC Vashi.
The supply of apple begins by the end of August and by the beginning of October, there are huge stocks of the fruits in the market. “Normally, the starting price of apple by end of September is Rs 20 to Rs 30 per kg. However, this year, it is starting at Rs 70 to Rs 80 per kg,” said a trader at APMC. He added that the supply is almost half.
Pansare too admits that the lockdown affected the apple yields and there is very little chance that apple price will come down immediately. Once the supply from other parts will start, we can expect the price down.
Ahmad says that many of the apple traders in Kashmir are on the brink of collapse as they do not have money to pay the bank loan. “There were years when we used to employ 50 to 100 workers packaging and transporting to across India. This year, there are traders who don’t have even one employee and they do not have money to even the loan EMI,” said Ahmad.