Srinagar: Amid the heavy rains and snow in parts of Kashmir valley, orchardists have suffered extensive damage across Kashmir. Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCC&I) President Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad, and general secretary, Farooq Amin have expressed deep concern at the recent losses incurred upon the orchardists due to untimely snow and have urged the UT administration for the early assessment and compensation.
KCC&I has also expressed deepest condolences with the nomad family whose three members were killed and another was critically injured after their makeshift tent came under debris of a soil in the Noorpora area of Tral in south Kashmir after heavy rains. KCC& I have urged for compensation to the family of deceased and prayed for the deceased.
As the inclement weather came much earlier than usual, many of the orchardists were still busy with harvesting and had not done trimming of the trees due to which a lot of trees have got damaged. This has plunged the stakeholders into despair and gloom.
In a letter addressed to LT Governor, Manoj Sinha, Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Association have also expressed their anxiety as the untimely heavy snow and rainfall have damaged and destroyed apple crop in all fruit orchards of the valley which include south Kashmir’s Shopian, Kulgam and North and Central Kashmir. According to the association, as crop harvesting was still under process.
“50 percent of “A grade” delicious type crop was still being harvested especially in Shopian and Kulgam and 30 percent in Central and North. The trees were laden with ripe fruit and the stakeholders whose livelihoods are associated with the industry were expecting good returns. However, due to damage, the hopes have been dashed to ground. This has been termed as one of the worst experiences of the horticulture sector in Kashmir which pumps the GDP of Kashmir and also of the association which has been suffering over the years due to multitude of reasons.
As it takes decades for a plant to produce crop, growers fear losing livelihood.
As there is no mechanism to assess the losses, the associations peg the losses in crores of rupees.
For the purpose of ascertaining the losses, the association has urged the LG to depute concerned departments like SKUAST Kashmir, Director General, Horticulture Development Department, Horticulture P&M, Srinagar, to depute staff in affected areas to asses and report the loss. Further, the concerned agencies should be directed to make all fruit growers and dealers aware about the necessary remedial measures to avoid disease and damage in apple orchards.
The association also pitched for financial package for the Fruit growers and Dealers.
As the horticulture is the backbone of the J&K economy, KCC&I urged visiting union home minister to dole out a financial package for the suffering orchardists.