Reyaz Rashid

Snowfall damages fruit orchards in north Kashmir

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Growers say 30% trees damaged

Baramulla, Feb 10: The recent spell of snowfall has inflicted large-scale damage to apple orchards in north Kashmir leaving farmers in despair.

“November snowfall caused huge losses by damaging unplucked apple crop, and now past week’s snowfall has hammered final nail in the coffin as orchards suffered massive damage with large number of tress ripped apart,” said Fayaz Ahmed Malik alias Kakaji, president, Fruit Growers and Buyers Association, Fruit Mundi Sopore.

“We have been facing unfavorable weather conditions from past several years in Kashmir which has brought huge losses to apple growers and orchardists. Hailstorms, windstorms and now heavy snowfall – apple industry continues to be at the receiving end,” said Mohammad Ayaz of Doodbugh Kandi.

“Nearly 30 percent of the fruit trees have suffered irreparable losses in the latest snowfall,” said a Horticulture Officer Abdul Hamid, quoting preliminary information received from the field staff.

Terming the loss suffered by the orchardists as a huge setback, he asked the farmers not to let snow accumulate on trees. “We appeal to the farmers to not let snow accumulate on trees and remove it as early as possible,” he said.

“We did not expect such a heavy snowfall. We tried our best to save trees but the overnight snowfall damaged 30 percent of my orchard,” said a grower Ghulam Rasool of Rafiabad.

“We are not covered under Prime Minister’s crop insurance scheme. We took the matter with concerned authorities from time to time but nothing has been done so for,” he said.

“We are assessing the damages, but most of the apple and other fruit trees have been damaged in snowfall in the valley,” another Horticultural officer said.

“Around 200 trucks laden with apple also remained stranded on Srinagar-Jammu highway, which is again a huge loss,” Kakaji told ‘Kashmir Images’.

The people also claimed they have not received any compensation from the government for the previous damages as was promised by the government.

SDM Pattan said that the concerned department has already deputed teams to conduct assessment of the damage and submit the report.

“Sub Division Pattan has already disbursed Rs 700,000 as compensation to affected famers whose apple orchards got damaged due to November snow,” he said.

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