Srinagar: Apple growers in the valley are all set to export large quantities of apples to different states across the country. Apple is produced mostly in southern and northern parts of the valley especially in districts like Shopian, Sopore, Anantnag.
Kashmiri apple growers produce a variety of apples which includes American, Maharaji, Golden Delicious, Delicious, and Italy, which was introduced recently by the department of Horticulture Kashmir.
The industry not only benefits the orchardists but also provides a livelihood to many other people including labourers who help in plucking apples during the harvesting season. “I work on a daily basis in these orchards during the harvesting season on a daily wage of Rs. 500-700 depending upon the variety of apples,” says Rafiq Ahmad who was plucking apples in one of the orchards in Srinagar.
Apple is cultivated on 164,742 hectares of land in Jammu and Kashmir, which produces over 1.8 metric tons of fruit annually and provides a livelihood for 3.3 million people in Jammu and Kashmir, reveals data of the director of Horticulture, Kashmir.