Business in Sopore fruit mandi hit as non-local traders leave Kashmir

The buyers who belong to different states of the country and are here at Sopore fruit Mandi are in a hurry to leave Kashmir and reach their respective places.
Business in Sopore fruit mandi hit as non-local traders leave Kashmir
Arvind Kumar, a trader from Uttar Pradesh said that the situation is worrying and under such circumstances it is tough to stay here anymore.Aman Farooq for Greater Kashmir

Baramulla: After spate of civilian killings in Kashmir, the traders and buyers from outside are fleeing with the result the trade in Sopore fruit Mandi has been hit badly.

The buyers who belong to different states of the country and are here at Sopore fruit Mandi are in a hurry to leave Kashmir and reach their respective places.

Arvind Kumar, a trader from Uttar Pradesh said that the situation is worrying and under such circumstances it is tough to stay here anymore. “Our family members are more worried for our safety and have been constantly calling us asking to return back as soon as possible,” he said.

Another buyer from Delhi said that he arrived a few weeks back at Fruit Mandi sopore. He said the trade was going smoothly, however, the recent civilian killings has made us anxious and we are now worried about safety.

“I hope situation will not worsen more,” said Muhammad Asghar of Delhi. “We are doing trade with the Sopore Fruit Mandi in crores of rupees, if the situation deteriorates further, we are left with no option but to leave this place. Let us hope the situation remains under control,” he added.

Worried over the prevailing situation that arises from the recent civilian killings, the traders at Fruit Mandi Sopore apprehend nosedive in trade. Traders believe the buyer's untimely departure will be a huge loss if they start leaving the area.

“Around 20 percent of buyers have left the place, while the rest are planning to leave as fast as possible. Though, there has been no killings reported across north Kashmir, however, fear among the traders has risen high after recent civilian killings,” says Mudasir Ahmad, heading buyers' organisation at fruit Mandi Sopore.

Arshad Ahmad, a worried fruit trader in Sopore Mandi Sopore said that usually buyers from different states of the country used to stay till February here. Among such buyers include traders from Nepal and even Bangladesh.

These traders after buying fruits would pay the complete payment up to February. However, following the prevailing situation, some traders have left in a hurry and some are planning to move out. This will affect our business badly. The fruit trade is already witnessing massive downfall due to the political uncertainty since 2019, besides natural calamity like snowfall has already inflicted huge loss to the fruit growers.

Spread over more than 370 kanals of land in Sopore area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, the Sopore fruit Mandi is Asia’s second largest fruit Mandi.

Over 240 fruit laden trucks used to leave from the fruit Mandi Sopore every day. These trucks leave for different states of India which include, Delhi, Gujrat, Mumbai, Calcutta, Karnataka, Rajasthan and several other states of the country.

The country’s 75 percent apple produce comes from Kashmir. The horticulture sector is considered the backbone of Jammu and Kashmir’s economy and around 50 lakh people from 12 lakh families are directly or indirectly involved in the apple trade.

According to president Sopore Fruit Mandi, Fayaz Ahmad Malik, the yearly apple production of Kashmir is 24 lakh metric tonnes.

Kashmir has witnessed a sudden increase in civilian killings. Around 11 civilians which include 9 minority community members had been killed in the militant attacks since last two weeks.

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