Snowfall: Orchard Costs To Spiral Up Gradually

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SRINAGAR: Though the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and industry has put the estimated costs of the early snowfall at around Rs 500 crore, it might end up slightly higher given the devastation that the apple orchards have witnessed. Reports from the periphery said.

“Losses would have been much less had it came by the end of the month,” an apple grower from Shopian said. “The trees have their foliage intact and the wet snow broke the trees like anything.” This, the grower said, is lesser the cost that the peasantry would pay for the crop that is yet to be harvested or has not been packed and sold and is in open.

A grower visiting his devastated apple orchard in south Kashmir. The November 3, 2018 snowfall has run riot with the apple orchards across Kashmir. KL Image: Shah Hilal

The losses are across Kashmir because, unlike past trend, this snowfall was reported from south to north of Kashmir. Unlike north Kashmir, parts of south Kashmir harvest the crop slightly late. A trend suggesting that most of the growers were keen to harvest around Diwali for a good price was another factor for delayed harvest.

Governor’s adviser, Khurshid Ahmed Ganai, has issued directions to the Horticulture Department to immediately assess the losses suffered by the fruit growers due to untimely snowfall in the Kashmir valley.

A photograph by Javaid Naikoo showing the unharvested apple still on the trees in Shopian

“There are reports that early snowfall has caused damage to orchards where apples remained un-harvested or were lying in orchards awaiting package,” an official spokesman quoted Ganai saying.

Ganai, who also holds the charge of the Horticulture Department, asked the Director Horticulture, Kashmir, and Director Horticulture (Planning & Marketing) to hold meetings with orchardists and fruit growers of the valley to take stock of the problems created by the untimely snowfall. He also asked them to consolidate district-wise lists of losses suffered by the fruit growers so that an assessment of damage can be made.

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