To plug in the losses incurred by the Monkeys, the government on Thursday said that there is need to provide adequate food and shelter to monkeys to confine the, to their habitat.
This was stated by minister of agriculture, Ghulam Hassan Mir. He said that to control the Monkey menace, fruit trees which monkeys prefer for shelter needs to be planted along with periphery of forest and protected Areas to augment the food availability for them so that they remain restricted in the forest areas only and do not come out, to damage the fruit crops in cultivated land.
Replying to Calling Attention Notice by Jagdish Raj Sapolia, the Minister said that the fruit species which are already existing in the forests of these areas, such as wild pear (kainth), apricot, peach, quince, persimmon etc. must be preserved and should not be allowed to be felled/ destroyed.
The Minister said Agriculture Department is creating awareness among the farming community, through its extension agency by recommending the cultivation of alternate crops like Turmeric, Ginger, Okra and Marigold in the agricultural fields, vulnerable to damages by monkeys.
The Minister said that in Jammu Division, Monkeys cause substantial loss to fruit crops like Mango, Guava, Ber, grapes, citrus fruits, litchi, sandy pear, peach, plum, apricot etc. He said the estimated damage on the basis of random assessment done in the areas/ district affected in Jammu Division are 4.72 crore.
The Minister said that major crops like Maize, Wheat, Rice and Vegetable crops covering 15,596 hectors of agriculture land falling in more than 250 villages of Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur and Reasi district get damaged annually by monkeys. He said annual financial loss on this account has been worked out to the extent of Rs. 32.93 crore. He said in Kashmir division, there is less threat of monkeys to Agriculture Crops but in hilly areas near the forests there are areas and pockets where there is some threat to Agriculture crops from wild animals including Monkeys.