Srinagar, It has been for a very long time that the Kashmiri reporters have romanticized the Arab dates with the Ramzan Iftaar. The fact is that it is Punjabi melons and water melons that is in massive demand.
“By an average Kashmir market consumes 150 truck-loads of melons including water melons daily,” Bashir Ahmad Bashir of the Fruit and Vegetable Association Fruit Mundi said. “It is the average demand but sometimes it hoes up as demand is normally more than this.”
Right now, the water-melon and lemon is the most wide fruit combination of the Iftaar. It is in use in all economic classes in addition to other fruits including dates, juices and water.
Fruit wholesalers said that the water melon is always in demand and it has led various regions in the Indian plains to market their produce in Kashmir. “The season started with the water melons coming from Punjab and it remains for almost a fortnight and then it starts coming from Bangalore,” one fruit merchant said. “Now this fruit is available for most of the year and Kashmir consumes a lot of it.”
Interestingly, the melons and apples have one thing in common: producers make slightly less than the trading chain. Right now the wholesale price of water melon in Kashmir is Rs 12 a kilogram, though it is sold at Rs 20 plus in retail. Deduct the freight and it offers an idea of what the grower might be getting, per kilogram. Market sources in Punjab said the purchase rate of water melons in Punjab right now is upward of Rs 6, per kilogram. Calculated at market process, the melons cost Kashmir Rs 2.70 crore every evening.
Fruit dealers said the water melon is massively more in demand that the sweet melon. “The fact is that water melon has nothing much to do with the month of fasting,” Bashir said. “The reality is that water melon demand shoots up massively as the temperature increases. We had a few days when mercury was down and we had sort of a glut and price fall.”