Lulu Group has secured a deal to import Kashmiri apples to Oman directly, giving consumers in the country a chance to savour the delicious red fruit from the ‘Paradise on Earth’.
The initiative is the result of a meeting between Yusuf Ali MA, Lulu group chairman, and Narendra Modi, Indian Prime Minister, in August this year.
Yusuf Ali expressed his interest for the procurement of Kashmiri agricultural produce and to even set up a logistics hub in Srinagar to allow for an uninterrupted supply of the fruit. Commenting on the initiative, H E Munu Mahawar, Indian Ambassador to Oman, said, “I thank Lulu Group for bringing quality Kashmiri apples here for Omani consumers. This will help Kashmiri farmers, and I am glad to be a part of this good initiative.”
Ananth A V, director of Lulu Hypermarkets Oman, India and Sri Lanka, said, “This is the first time Oman is importing apples from Kashmir, and Lulu Group is extremely proud of this initiative. In the first lot, around ten containers (200 tonnes) of three apple varieties have been shipped to the Middle East. Kashmiri apples are famous for their crispiness, aroma, flavour and attractiveness. We are planning to open a new market for Kashmiri apples in Oman. We are importing one container every week by sea, and we hope to increase the quantity in the coming days.”
Lulu Group has also placed order for saffron and would soon be sourcing rice, walnuts, pulses and spices from Kashmir. Lulu also plans to hold a ‘Kashmir Promotion Week’ across its hypermarkets in the coming days to familiarise the high-quality agriculture produce of Kashmir to the people in the Middle East, which can in turn boost the export and trade sector in Kashmir.
A high-level delegation, led by Ananth, along with procurement experts, visited various Kashmiri farms and processing units to oversee the packaging and shipment process. Kashmir accounts for 75 per cent of the total apple production in India. Involving some 3.5mn people, the fruits are the core of Kashmir’s economy. The state produces 2mn metric tonnes of apples every year cultivated on more than 3.7mn hectares of land. It earns Kashmir R80bn annually and provides livelihood to 3.3mn people.