October 2019 News

Why Apple Growers In Kashmir Still Use Road Route Despite Terror Threat

27 October 2019
Nazir Masoodi

Srinagar: Apple growers in Kashmir continue to use the traditional market supply chain to sell their produce despite the targeted killings of transporters by terrorists in the Valley. The practise is being carried out despite the Jammu and Kashmir administration's offer to purchase from them at attractive rates. Under the Marketing Intervention Scheme (MIS), the Jammu and Kashmir is purchasing apples at Rs. 70 per kg, which is much more than what the what they will fetch by selling through the traditional market supply chain. Ghulam Nabi is transporting 15-kg apple box to Delhi through the traditional market supply chain. The apple grower from Shopian is using the age-old practice even as he knows that he will make between Rs. 700-800 while he can earn Rs. 1,000 under Marketing Intervention Scheme. 'We don't want to break our relations with traders in Punjab or south India. Money doesn't matter everytime, relations come first, money later.' Ghulam Nabi says. In in the last one and a half month, NAFED, which is the nodal agency for procuring apples, procure less than 3,000 metric tonnes of apples. 'The growers have deep-rooted relations with their business partners. This is why they have chosen their traditional means of business over MIS. We have been offering them very good rates,' said Yasin Choudhary, Deputy Commissioner, Shopian. This despite the recent killing of apple transporters by terrorists in Kashmir. Terrorists on Thursday struck for the third time in 10 days in south Kashmir's Shopian district killing two non-Kashmiri truck drivers, who had gone to ferry loads of apples. The terrorists had also torched two of the trucks. On October 14, two terrorists, including a suspected Pakistani national, shot dead the driver of a truck having Rajasthan registration and assaulted an orchard owner in Shopian district. Two days later, Punjab-based apple trader Charanjeet Singh was killed and another injured when terrorists attacked them in Shopian district. The Rajasthan truck and transport unions have decided to send no trucks Kashmir nor bring any goods from the Valley. As a result transportation charges have shot up by 100%. But despite the steep charge, farmers like Ghulam Nabi feel that their relationship with their partners was much more important than making money.