Snow in Kashmir has hit the fruit and horticulture industry, with the Valley’s top trade body pegging the damage at Rs 500 crore. The snowfall, which began on Saturday, has damaged fruit crop in several parts of the Valley, with fruit associations saying that around 20 percent of the crops was unharvested.
“After receiving the preliminary inputs from the districts, we believe that loss to the industry is over Rs 500 crores the exact details will be known after a proper assessment,” Sheikh Aashiq Ahmad, president of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), told The Indian Express.
Authorities have said they are in the process of assessing the damage to apples orchards. Horticulture Kashmir director Manzoor Ahmad Quadri told The Indian Express that the process is on. “This is true that snowfall has caused damage to the orchards. But how much…we are collecting reports from the ground. It may take one week (to get the complete details),” he said.
On Monday, Sheri-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology issued an advisory for the orchards affected by the snowfall, detailing steps for farmers “to protect the produce from damage”.
Meanwhile, the KCCI issued a statement on Monday, questioning why the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) – the Central government crop insurance scheme – hasn’t been implemented in the Valley so far.
“The KCCI is happy to learn that the Crop Insurance Scheme is operational in Jammu province since Kharif 2017, but at the same time anguished that being more prone to the vagaries of nature, Kashmir stands ignored in this regard,” the statement said.
The Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers cum Dealers Union (KVFG), an apex body of fruit associations, said the recent snowfall has destroyed “entire fruits crop and uprooted fruit plant in all fruit orchards in the Valley”. This body too has demanded administration should consider grant of compensation of the losses of thousands of crores of rupees due to heavy snowfall.
“The snowfall has damaged the apple trees badly. For a fruit grower, it is not the loss this year only, but for coming years as well because trees are badly damaged,” Basheer Ahmad Basheer, chairman of KVFG told The Indian Express.