Flooded with Kashmiri apples, the only fruit mandi in Jammu has been witnessing a dearth of buyers, giving wholesalers nightmares. The Kashmiri apple harvest has been bumper this time, even more than the annual 20-21 lakh metric tonnes of production, causing a glut in the wholesale fruit market of Jammu. Wholesalers say the competition from Himachal apple too has affected their business as the harvest there too has been bumper.
The Kashmiri apple harvest has been bumper this time. Besides, wholesalers are also facing stiff competition from the Himachal fruit. Wholesalers say they are lacking orders as Kashmiri dealers have established direct links with traders in other states.
Earlier, dealers in other states, such as Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, ordered apples from the Jammu market. Now, according to traders, Kashmiri dealers have established direct contact with such markets, reducing the sale from Jammu.
18,000 trucks stuck on Jammu-Srinagar highway reached Jammu and other markets in one go, resulting in a glut. Buyers are less in numbers, so the rates have been slashed. —A Horticulture Department official
Raghav Mahajan, a wholesaler in the Jammu fruit mandi, says the cross-variety of Ambri apple, which earlier used to be sold at Rs 80 per kg (wholesale price) is now being sold at Rs 50 as the market has been flooded with the variety. “This popular variety is ordered in bulk by dealers in other states too. This year, Kashmiri dealers are directly selling it in mandis outside the UT. Moreover, we also face tough competition from Himachal apple,” he said.
Interestingly, retailers are selling the same variety across Jammu at Rs 120-150 per kg. Wholesalers also say that apple ripened early in the Valley this time, resulting in early harvest of some varieties. This caused a direct competition with Himachal apple. Another wholesaler, Tushar Kohli, says, “The marketing by Himachal apple growers is the best. They are beating the Kashmir apple in the markets, creating a glut in Jammu.”
He said the situation had further worsened as the arrival of apples from the Anantnag fruit mandi, which used to stop by Diwali, is still continuing due to the high production this time.
An official of the Horticulture Department, wishing not to be named, said most of the apple-laden trucks were stuck on the Jammu-Srinagar highway till late September when the administration made efforts and allowed them to reach Jammu and other mandis in the region in one go. “September’s last week and October’s first week saw arrival of over 18,000 fruit-laden trucks in Jammu and other markets, resulting in a glut. The supply is still coming. The buyers are less in numbers, so rates have been slashed,” he added.