Srinagar, Feb 08: A Pune-based non-governmental organization is organizing the first-ever ‘World Apple Conference’ in Srinagar later this year, in which experts from experts from different backgrounds will deliberate on the issues by the industry.
A spokesman of the NGO, Sarhad said they are organizing the three-day conference from 24th June this year along with Sopore-based Apple Farmer Producer Company, JandK.
The conference is being organised in order to better empower the apple growers/ farmers of Jammu and Kashmir who have been facing huge losses due to unprecedented fall in prices of their produce during the last 5-6 seasons, read the statement.
“Even this year the apple season this year fetched prices below expectations this year leading to losses for farmers across the state. Hence, the conference comes just in the right time to explore possible avenues to help mitigate the effect of crop and financial losses to apple farmers owing to unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters, low crop yield, weak market, storage issues.”
It said that crop insurance, value addition, cold storage, logistics and supply chain management and integration will be the core focus of the conference.
“Another major issue faced by the apple growers/farmers is the wastage of crop both premature and post harvesting. Premature wastage occurs due to fruit drop i.e. fruits falling off of trees before ripening which happens due to various reasons such as pests, adverse weather and climatic conditions,” added the statement.
“Post-harvest wastage can occur when the crop goes unsold due to lower prices and ultimately goes to waste or when the produce does not reach the target markets on time and turns rotten due to unfavorable transport, storage and warehousing facilities.”
It said that potential solutions to such issues such as strengthening of highway transport and logistics in the form of better roadways and highways could help mitigate the problem of produce reaching the markets on time. “Cold storages could help arrest the ripening of crops and buy more time for the produce to reach the markets,” it added.
“Another viable option for reducing post-harvest wastage of apples is the establishment of a state owned juice plant with inputs by the State and Center. This would help convert the losses of farmers to a sustainable product line by procurement of apples from farmers and using them for manufacture of apple juice and Jam,” read the statement further.
Eminent researchers and academics in the relevant fields shall be a part of the same and contribute to solutions for the fundamental issues being faced by apple industry as a whole, it said.
The conference aims to find sustainable and long term solutions to such issues, and promote better marketing and supply of Kashmiri apples pan India while also exploring export opportunities for the same.
“Another key point on the agenda shall be the promotion of Apple Tourism. The apple farms of the valley shall be opened for tourists from all parts of the world where they get to interact with apple farmers, live on the farms, experience the lifestyle. This would not only generate additional tourism revenue for the state and incomes for the farmers but could attract more investment as the tourism progress.”
“Sarhad Founder and President, Shri. Sanjay Nahar and Sopore Apple Farmer Producers Company Chairman Adil Malik, Vice Chairman Suyog Zende and Directors Shailesh Pagariya and Ramdas Khopade along with President of Sopore Fruit Mandi, Shri. Fayaz Malik have come together to organize this conference under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer's Welfare Government of India from the 24th to 26th of June 2023 at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Center, Srinagar,” added the statement further.