Preliminary reports indicate that the unfavourable weather conditions and scab disease has hit the apple production this year. These reports have come some time before the apple harvesting season gains momentum and reaches its peak.
The assessment being made by the apple growers and traders indicate a possible reduction in the apple production. The exact decrease in the production will be known once the harvesting season is over and the picture is totally clear.
However, this is not a positive sign for the apple production and trade, which is being considered as a backbone of the economy of Jammu and Kashmir. For last several years the apple growers are mostly at the receiving end for various reasons.
Not that good prices in the outside markets is something which the growers and traders have been complaining about. Arrival of Iranian apple allegedly via Afghanistan without import duty, and reduction of custom duty on Washington apples was another cause of concern for them.
The issue was brought into the notice of concerned authorities several times. The Central Government banned the import of cheap apples and it brought cheers to fruit growers.
The delay in the timely transportation of the fruit from Kashmir to outside markets was also a problem for last several years. The growers and traders alleged that the fruit laden trucks were being halted on the Srinagar - Jammu National Highway resulting in delay in the timely transportation.
However, the traffic officials said the halting was not deliberate but due to the necessary repair at some places on the highway and heavy rush of fruit laden trucks.
Taking the issue seriously, the government this year took a number of measures in advance so that there is free and smooth movement of fruit laden trucks on the highway. The measures have been hailed by those associated with apple production.
The fruit growers are demanding meaningful crop insurance schemes so that in case of losses in production due to unfavourable weather conditions or scab like diseases, they get some kind of relief.
The authorities must look into such demands. Every effort should be made to help the apple production and trade to grow so that the economy of J&K gets further strengthened.
Any loss in this sector will be a loss to the economy. There is a need to prevent such losses and provide all possible facilities to those associated with apple production and trade.