Sopore: After a lull, hustle and bustle has returned to Asia’s second largest fruit mandi - Sopore fruit mandi with trucks loaded with varieties of fruit leaving for multiple destinations across the country.
The farmers are optimistic about fetching handsome rates for their fruit varieties when compared to the previous years.
“We expect that we will earn at least 25 percent more than last year,” a group of fruit growers said.
The fruit growers said that almost every day around 100 trucks leave from the Sopore fruit mandi for their next destination.
“The number will go up in the coming days,” said Ubaid Ahmad, a fruit dealer. “We are receiving fruit varieties of high-density plants like Gala this time and the rates are good in the mandi.”
The dealers here buy Gala for Rs 800 to Rs 900 per box while the Italy variety is priced at over Rs 1000 at the mandi.
Even one box of pear here is being sold at around Rs 1000.
The early American varieties are fetching around Rs 450 per small box.
“Compared to last year, the rates are about 25 percent higher,” said Mukhtar Ahmad, another dealer. “Every morning, dozens of buyers converge at the mandi to purchase fruit as the produce starts arriving on tractors, load carriers, trolleys, and trucks from different parts of Kashmir, especially north Kashmir.”
The Horticulture Department officials said that right now, more than 120 trucks of fruit were being exported from Kashmir.
“This will reach 300 to 400 every day by next month and everything is going smoothly,” an officer of the Horticulture Department said.
He said that the authorities were supervising that trucks carrying fruits were allowed on top priority.
One of the fruit dealers said that they were in constant touch with the authorities.
He said last year they faced issues on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway as fruit-laden trucks used to remain stranded for days.
The growers are optimistic that this year’s trend would continue and things would not turn ugly like last year.
They said presently various works were under execution for the development of the Sopore fruit mandi.
“Compared to previous years, the situation has improved in terms of development,” the growers said.
Kashmir produces around 24 lakh metric tonnes of fruit of different varieties of which 50 to 55 percent is supplied to other states from Sopore fruit mandi.
Sopore fruit mandi receives 90 percent of the production from north Kashmir districts, 50 percent from south Kashmir districts, and around 60 percent of the production from central Kashmir districts.