According to figures released this week by the Jammu and Kashmir government's horticulture department, Kashmir's apple harvest is expected to match production in 2017-2018. This belies fears that anger against the Centre's decision to end the state's special status, as well as labour shortages and violence, were forcing farmers to leave their fruit crop, valued at Rs 12 bln, to rot.
The government estimates the fruit harvest will hover around 1,956,331 tonnes in 2018-2019 — similar to the 1,973,326 tons recorded in 2017-2018. Figures for trucks with cargoes of apples, maintained at the Lakhanpur excise barrier, show 34,599 trucks crossed Jammu and Kashmir’s largest commercial transit point until 9 October, carrying over 440,000 tons of fruit to the nation’s markets: 124,000 tons of that since 1 October alone.
Thursday saw over 2,300 fruit trucks cross Lakhanpur, headed for markets in New Delhi and further south. Between between 1,200 and 1,400 fruit trucks have passed through Lakhanpur each night for the last fortnight, figures similar to past years.