SHOPIAN: For the very first time, a national-level conference on apples is being held in south Kashmir’s Shopian district to find out ways for redressal of the problems faced by the fruit industry. The conference is being organised by the Apple Farmers’ Federation of India (AFFI) in collaboration with Jammu and Kashmir Kisaan Tehreek.
Organizers told that the conference is scheduled to be held on July 15 and 16 in which hundreds of delegates from J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are expected to participate.
They said the main focus and slogan of the conference will be “Save Apple Farmers, Save Apple Economy”.
“The apple farmers across India have been facing different challenges and problems but such problems have increased in the last few years. Last year, apples were sold at very cheap rates due to the import of apples from Iran thereby affecting lakhs of families. Now, the government has reduced 20 percent of import tax on Washington apples which has exacerbated the situation,” they said.
The organizers said the input costs are on the rise with each passing year but the output is on the decline which has been worrying for the people associated with the fruit.
The conference is being held to discuss all these issues and find out the solution so that the farmers won’t have to suffer anymore, they said.
President All India Kissan Sabha (AIKS) Ashok Dhawale and senior CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami will be among the key speakers. The organizers said the Shopian district has been chosen for the conference as this is one of the leading apple-producing districts in the whole of India.
According to official horticulture records, a staggering 26,000 hectares of land are dedicated to apple cultivation in this region. The fertile lands of Shopian nurture a diverse range of apple varieties, including the Red Delicious, Golden, American, White Dotted Red, and Gala, among others.
Shopian witnessed a remarkable apple production of 3.6 lakh metric tonnes (MTs) in the previous year – 2022. However, the current year’s forecast predicts a tentative production of 3 million metric tones—(KNO)