Farmers primarily engaged in growing apples in Kashmir said they are likely to face another year of losses due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation
Kashmir’s famous apple industry is looking at another year of gloom as several factors including Covid-19 pandemic contributed to lower production so far.
Farmers who grow apples said they are facing issues since 2019 when Kashmir was shutdown after the abrogation of Article 370. This year, too, farmers are worried as their harvest is substandard.
Ali Mohammad, an apple farmer in central Kashmir, feels his crop is not up to the mark this year.
Pointing at his produce during this year, he said, “You see yourself, there is scab on these apples. Substandard pesticides, the weather and the Covid-19 situation have contributed to this. We are looking at loses.”
Like Ali Mohammad a lot of famers are worried in Kashmir. There are many factors that seem to have added to their woes.
“There is so many difficulties. The labour is missing, already the produce is less. The rates are also lesser because buyers are also scared,” says Abdul Hameed, another apple farmer.
The officials say that there could be a decrease in overall production to the tune of 20-30 per cent this year.
In 2019, apple production was at 20-22 lakh metric tonnes and expect some areas in south Kashmir, almost all the farmers are losing out.
“The (apple) crop is lesser than last two years. One reason is the untimely rains in April and May, and second is the beehives that come from outside after spending the winters. Because of Covid-19, those beehives could not be transported in time this year. This has resulted in less production,” said Ejaz Ahmad, Director Horticulture
Horticulture is the second-largest trade after tourism in Jammu and Kashmir and over 2.5 million people are directly or indirectly associated with it.
Many of these farmers are now hoping that the government will come to their aide in whichever form it can to help them in this crisis.
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