SRINAGAR: Concerned over the inclement weather conditions, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) has urged the UT administration for the early assessment and compensation of the losses that the apple growers have suffered. The trade body also condoled the death of three members of a nomad family in the Noorpora area of Tral.
“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,” a statement issued by the KCCI said.
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 per cent of “A grade” delicious type crop was still being harvested especially in Shopian and Kulgam and 30 per cent 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 the ground. This has been termed as one of the worst experiences of the horticulture sector in Kashmir, it said.
“It takes decades for a plant to produce the crop, growers fear losing livelihood,” the trade body said insisting the losses are 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 assess and report the loss. Further, the concerned agencies should be directed to make all fruit growers and dealers aware of the necessary remedial measures to avoid disease and damage in apple orchards.
The association also pitched for a financial package for the Fruit growers and Dealers.
As horticulture is the backbone of the Jammu and Kashmir economy, KCCI urged visiting union home minister to dole out a financial package for the suffering orchardists.