NEW DELHI: While the abating floods in Jammu and Kashmir have already caused enough destruction and gigantic losses, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) has estimated the losses incurred by the Kashmir apple industry and its effect on the overall fruit prices in the country at Rs 1000 crores.

The Kashmir apple industry has suffered a massive damage of 1000 crore, as a result of which, the country should be prepared for high fruit price in the coming festive season.

The worst-affected districts of Baramulla, Kupwara and Sopore are the largest producers of apples and extensive damage has been reported there.

“Horticultural production of the state contributes about 50% of the Rs 2,000 crore agricultural production of the state involving 30 lakh people. Apple production accounts for 86% by value of the state’s horticultural output”, read a release issued by ASSOCHAM.

“Apple is the mainstay of Kashmir's economy with a turnover of Rs 1,200 crore a year and its production in the state has reached about 1.6 million metric tonnes annually. 30,00,000 people are directly and indirectly associated with this trade. Apples account for a lion’s share of total fruits produced and their value and contribute about 10 per cent to state domestic product (SDP), the release added.

According to the country’s premier apex chamber, globally famous Kashmiri apples Firdous and Amri, which were to hit the market by September end, have been completely damaged by these devastating floods.

“Kashmiri apples are favourite not only in the domestic market but also abroad. With the supply line closed from Kashmir, the price of apple has already started shooting up and the ensuing Navratra season will see further jump by 40-45%. As the supply from rest of the country will not be able to make up for the loss, dependence on imports will also increase”, said D S Rawat Secretary General ASSOCHAM.

Further, “the horticulture industry in Kashmir earns over Rs. 1,200 crore on yearly, a major share of which comes from the apples and also generates Rs.500-600 crore for the state exchequer annually”, he added.