Mubashir Aalam Wani
Srinagar, Nov 18: Moin-ud-din, a Bangladeshi trader has been camping in north Kashmir’s Sopore for the last three months.
Every day, Moin-ud-din exports more than two trucks of apples to his native country, where the demand for Kashmiri apples is growing with each passing day.
He is joined by many such dealers who too have been staying in the valley to meet the demand for Kashmiri apple in their homeland.
“We have been associated with the apple trade in Kashmir for nearly a decade now. We mostly export American varieties of apple to our native country where the demand for this variety is manifold,” Moin-ud-din said.
The demand for Kashmiri apple in Bangladesh has increased significantly in recent years, making it a potential market for the fruit.
President North Kashmir Apple Growers Association Fayaz Ahmad Malik told Kashmir News Observer that on an average 25-30 trucks loaded with Kashmiri apple leave for Bangladesh from Sopore Fruit mandi.
“During peak season almost 30 trucks loaded with apples leave for Bangladesh. The dealers from Bangladesh buy American variety apples which have a good demand in this neighbouring country,” he said.
Malik said that almost 20 percent of the total apple produce from north Kashmir is being shipped to Bangladesh annually.
“These apples are transported to Bangladesh along the border with West Bengal. As the number of dealers increases yearly, we are confident that Bangladesh will rank among the top buyers of Kashmir apples in the upcoming years,” he said.
Malik said the imposition of export duty by the Bangladesh government, however, was becoming an impediment in the large-scale exports to the country.
“Currently, we are paying Rs 95 per Kilogram of apple as export duty. It sums up Rs 22 Lakh per truck loaded with apples. Kashmiri traders would reap good benefits if the export duty was not imposed by the Bangladeshi government,” he said.
To meet the rising demand, exporters from Kashmir have been actively collaborating with Bangladeshi distributors and retailers to establish a seamless supply chain.
This partnership has not only benefited the apple growers in Kashmir but has also opened new avenues for economic collaboration between the two regions.
“Sopore fruit Mandi has become one of the potential markets for the American variety of apples. Growers from other districts also prefer to sell this apple variety here in Sopore mandi because of the Bangladeshi dealers who offer better rates,” said Ghulam Mohammad Bhat, a grower who has associated himself with Bangladeshi dealers to sell his apple produce.