Winter has started arriving early, need to change our strategy, say orchardists
By: Afaq Bhat
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir administration declaring the recent untimely rain and snowfall in the Valley as a natural calamity has come as a respite for the apple growers and orchardists.
The weather turning inclement last week led to uprooting of trees and damaged the standing crop. The orchardists were the worst hit but the government has come for their rescue. “Recent heavy rain, hailstorm and snow affecting the crops have been declared a natural calamity and UT-specific disaster. The government will provide relief to all the farmers, who have suffered damages,” Lt Governor Manoj Sinha announced while addressing an apple festival at SKICC here.
He said, “Today, Jammu and Kashmir is at the fifth place in terms of farm income across the country. The multifold increase in the income of the farmers of the UT is the result of the government’s commitment to work for the betterment of the farming community.”
The LG said, “Jammu and Kashmir has been declared as ‘Agri Export Zone’ for Apple and Walnut for now, and other products will also be included in the coming days. It is the determination of the UT administration that no section of the society should remain away from the mainstream of development.”
A grower while talking to Precious Kashmir said, “Kashmir has been receiving early snowfall for the past three years. It appears that the climate has changed and we need to change our strategy. We received early snowfall in 2019, 2020 and now in 2021. It means we should finish harvesting the yield by mid October. The trend has changed as winter has started arriving early and gets prolonged. So we need to change our patterns.”
“The apple of J&K contributes to 87 % of the national production with an annual production of more than 2.2 million metric tonnes and is linked to the livelihood of about 30 % of the population of the Union Territory,” said an official.
He said that the J&K Government is paying special attention to High Density Plantation and Fungicides for quality and production of apples which has yielded excellent results this year. “The steps taken by the Union Agriculture Ministry to connect maximum farmers of J&K with High Density Plantation through Agriculture Infrastructure Fund have paid dividends. This year apples are fetching a very good price and results are evident,” the official added.
An orchardist said, “The government’s decision to compensate losses suffered by the farmers is a welcome step. We hope that the proposal doesn’t get entangled in the official wrangles and the growers who have been hit by the recent untimely rains and snowfall get the much needed respite.”