In the heart of Kashmir’s Sopore, Bangladeshi trader Moin-ud-din is orchestrating a thriving apple trade, sending over two trucks daily to meet the surging demand back home.
By Mubashir Aalam Wani
Moin-ud-din, a dedicated Bangladeshi trader, has established a temporary residence in the picturesque region of north Kashmir’s Sopore, marking his presence there for an impressive three-month duration. Each day, Moin-ud-din actively engages in the exportation of an impressive quantity, exceeding two trucks loaded with succulent Kashmiri apples destined for his native Bangladesh. The allure of these delectable fruits has sparked a burgeoning demand in his homeland, steadily intensifying with the passage of time.
In the midst of this bustling trade scenario, Moin-ud-din finds himself in the company of numerous other enterprising dealers. Like him, these fellow traders have chosen to extend their stay in the valley, driven by the pressing need to cater to the ever-growing demand for Kashmiri apples in their respective homelands. The valley, therefore, becomes a vibrant hub of economic activity, as these traders work tirelessly to meet the escalating preferences of consumers back in their home countries. “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 emerged as a promising market for the American variety of apples. Growers from various districts also choose to sell this apple variety in Sopore Mandi due to the favorable rates offered by Bangladeshi dealers,” stated Ghulam Mohammad Bhat, a grower who has partnered with Bangladeshi dealers to sell his apple produce.