The people associated with globally known apple industry of Kashmir  that the apple production has witnessed a huge dip due the use of substandard pesticides and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has only worried them.

The growers believe that the less production is natural but the use of substandard pesticides brought from the markets led to the immensely lower amount in production in the ensuing year.

The growers associated with Kashmir’s apple industry said that the use of substandard pesticides, COVID-19 pandemic and frequent national highway shutdown has cast a shadow on the industry.

One of the growers said that the production is very low as compared to previous years. “The use of substandard pesticide has led to the lesser production of apple, not only this but whatever has grown has been damaged and doesn’t match the quality it used to be”, he said.

“The apple industry witnessed loss in previous years but we were high with hopes that our product will have takers but looking at the production in the ensuing year the losses may only increase,” he said.

He said that it takes a lot of money and effort from a farmer but the burden of banks and other liabilities are crushing them with each passing day.

Showkat Ahmad Bhat, an associate of apple industry in Kashmir working at Sopore fruit mandi for over a decade now said that the frequent closure of the national highway is one of the major hurdles people associated with this business face.

He said that the production of ‘A grade’ stock is very low since the 80% stock collected isn’t what businessmen in the market look for but they are hopeful the remaining 20% will be of that quality.

The farmers sought attention of the government and demanded relief in KCC loans and said that if the government can’t compensate them with all the amount at least they must cut down the interest