The harvesting of a bumper crop of cherries has begun after improvement in weather in Kashmir. Experts expect fruit volumes to exceed 1,300 tonnes this year.
Kashmiri cherry growers saw huge losses last year when a large quantity of their cherry was damaged due to inclement weather. According to horticulture experts, more than 25 percent of the crop was damaged.
With renewed hope, hundreds of cherry growers in many parts of Kashmir have started picking cherry in recent days. Several types of this fruit are now being grown in Kashmir, such as Siya, Makhmali, and Vishkan.
Director of Horticulture, Kashmir, Ajaz Ahmad Bhat told Kashmir Reader that this year has seen a bumper cherry crop. He said last year Kashmir produced 11,000 tonnes of cherries: “We expect there will be increase in the quantity of cherry crop in the valley but the current rates of cherry are Rs 50 on average, which are not satisfactory.”
The cherry crop last year, according to experts, brought Rs 700 mln (8.9 mln) gains to the orchardists and it is being expected that if the rains don’t cause damage this year, the figure will cross the 1 billion rupee mark.
In recent years there has been an increase in the number of cherry growers in Kashmir, as thousands of trees were planted after the sector saw huge losses in the 2000s during which growers chopped hundreds of such orchards.