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On 5th September, India lifted additional duties on approximately half a dozen American products, such as chickpeas, lentils and apples, walnuts in shells and almonds fresh or dried.
It is important to remember that Kashmir’s apple, walnut, and almond growers are facing a significant challenge with the recent decision by the Indian government to lift duties on these American products, including these commodities. While the move might benefit Indian consumers through lower prices, it threatens the livelihoods of the hardworking Kashmiri farmers and businesses.
In response to the move, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry sought the order to be reconsidered as it seriously damages Kashmir’s apple and fruit industry badly. Kashmir’s economy is primarily driven by apple and fruit produce. This untimely decision is raising concerns, as it is expected to negatively affect the livelihoods of nearly seven hundred thousand apple grower families in Kashmir.
Additionally, the decision also jeopardizes the economic survival of millions of others indirectly connected with the trade. The fear expressed by the Kashmiri fruit producers is that competitively priced apples and dry fruits imported from the US will eclipse locally produced Kashmiri businessmen in the market. The apple economy in Kashmir is estimated to be around 1,305,288,000 US Dollars.
In September of 2022, India similarly targeted Kashmir’s apple economy by blocking highways that Kashmiri apple growers used to transport their trucks, causing all the fruits harvested in the season to rot.