Kashmiri leaders slam Centre’s decision to cut import duty on US apples, walnuts
As the Government of India has announced its decision to eliminate the additional import duty on apples, walnuts, and almonds imported from the United States, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry has sought the order to be reconsidered as it affects the Kahmir’s apply industry badly.
This untimely decision is raising alarms, as it is expected to have far-reaching consequences on the livelihoods of nearly seven lakh apple grower families in the Kashmir region, KCCI said.
Additionally, the decision threatens to negatively impact the livelihoods of millions of others indirectly connected with the trade. The fear is that competitively priced apples and dry fruits imported from the USA will overshadow the locally produced Kashmiri counterparts in the market.
The implications of this decision are dire, as it threatens to undermine the entire Kashmiri apple industry, which is estimated to be worth nearly 9000 crores and makes a substantial contribution to the state’s economy. This move could spell doom for the industry and have cascading effects on the region’s economic stability.
The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry is not taking this decision lightly and is making an earnest appeal to the Government of India to reconsider its stance, the trade body said.
They argue that the decision should be reevaluated in light of the larger public interest, taking into consideration the potential consequences on the livelihoods and economy of the Kashmir region.
This development is sure to generate significant debate and discussion in the coming days as stakeholders grapple with the implications of the government’s decision on the Kashmiri apple industry and the broader economy.
Meanwhile, Mainstream political party leaders in Kashmir have urged Centre to not lift additional taxes on Apples, Walnuts and almonds being imported from the United States of America. They say that this will adversely affect the fruit growers in the region.
CPI (M) general secretary Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami said that growers are worried about the decision and it should be taken back.
Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari said, “The Centre should have sought the opinion from growers from J&K and Himachal Pradesh before taking the decision. The growers here are suffering huge losses from past many years and this decision will make it worse.”
People’s Conference senior vice-president Abdul Gani Vakil said that apple cultivation holds an integral position in the region’s agricultural landscape, playing a pivotal role in the economy. He asserted that government must provide policy support to our growers.
“It is essential to note that the United States government provides significant policy and financial support to its apple growers and our government must support local growers and farmers in equal measure. This support should encompass immediate financial assistance, specialised training programmes, exploration of new markets, investments in modern infrastructure for storage and processing and the establishment of insurance schemes to mitigate unforeseen risks in the global apple market,” he said.
On September 5, the Union finance ministry in an order lifted additional duties on apples, almonds, chickpeas and walnuts.