Apple prices crashed in Kashmir after market intervention by Nafed, says Raju Shetty
"Farmers had to wait for 10 to 12 days for their turn to sell to Nafed, which rejected or offered lower prices on various grounds. Nafed could transport apples out of the valley only after loading 400 to 500 trucks as army army could extend protec...
Shetty was part of a team of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSS), a group of more than 200 farmer organisations from the country, that visited Kashmir valley recently to assess the situation of farmers.
Shetty said that the valley was locked down just when the harvesting season of apple begins. "This year was one of bumper apple production but farmers could not sell their produce. As everywhere else in the country, Nafed's work was not satisfactory. Farmers had to wait for 10 to 12 days for their turn to sell to Nafed, which rejected or offered lower prices on various grounds. Nafed could transport apples out of the valley only after loading 400 to 500 trucks as army army could extend protection to only a big convoy. This heavy arrival in markets led to fall of apple prices," said Shetty.
The farmer leader said that of the 16 lakh to 17 lakh boxes of apple production, Nafed could purchase only 1.5 lakh boxes. He said that the unseasonal snow fall in Kashmir further aggravated problems of apple farmers. "It snowed one month early, in the first week of November as against the normal time of snowfall of first week of December, by when most of the apple trees shed their trees ensuring snow doesn't accumulate on any of the tree parts. However, early snowfall destroyed apple orchards as snow stayed over leaves of plants, which take about 16 to 17 years to be fully mature for peak production," said Shetty.
AIKSCC has demanded that the Valley's farmers get benefits of weather-based crop insurance and schemes of National Horticulture Board and the National Bank of Agricultural and Rural Banking, like their counterparts in the rest of the country.