Srinagar: Despite lower production of quality apples in Kashmir due to unpredictable weather, there has been a significant market demand for Kashmiri apples throughout India this year. As a result of the improved market rates for Kashmiri apples, the cold storage facilities in Kashmir are currently operating at full capacity.
Anticipating a further boost in the market, farmers have stored large quantities of apples in cold storage facilities.
Bashir Ahmad Bashir, President of Parimpora Fruit Mandi, informed KNO that all cold storages in Kashmir are currently operating at full capacity.
“Grade ‘A’ apples fetched better rates this year. Consequently, the majority of farmers have stored their apples in cold storages, expecting even higher rates in the months of April to June next year,” he stated.
Bashir emphasised that the quantity of apple shipments from Kashmir is expected to remain steady in the coming months. “Cold storages have proven beneficial for farmers who sell their apples during the off-season at lucrative rates,” he noted.
Bashir also highlighted that storing apples in cold chains would help prevent losses for farmers due to the influx of Iranian apples. “This could be another reason why farmers are storing their apples in cold storage in large quantities. They are aware that only Kashmiri apples will hit the market during the off-season next year,” he added.
A cold storage owner informed KNO that the majority of cold storage in Kashmir reached full capacity in the beginning of November, earlier than the usual month of December.
“Typically, cold storage reaches full capacity in December. However, this year, most farmers chose to store their crops in cold storages,” he remarked.
Ghulam Mohammad Dar, a grower from Baramulla, expressed that cold storage has become a ray of hope for farmers seeking better returns on their crops.
“We have observed a consistent demand for Kashmiri apples in the months of April to July over the past few years. Therefore, cold storage has become a viable option for farmers to secure better rates for apples during the off-season,” he concluded.