Heavy snowfall in the Pulama and Shopian region of the union territory has caused massive damage to apple orchards in the Kashmir valley. Local farmers have seen the snowfall be heavier than usual for this season, adversely affecting the apple produce.
Speaking to ANI another grower said: "The heavy snowfall damaged the apple trees and smashed their branches. The unexpected snowfall in the month of November has been heavier than the normal snowfall. The snow gets accumulated on the tree branches and they collapse. Around 70 per cent of the production of apples has been affected."
Chief Horticulture Officer of Pulwama R K Kotwal: "We have constituted a team to assess the damage, we will submit a report to government as soon as possible to provide relief to farmers. Our teams have been deployed on the field."
Government initiative failed
Also, the government initiative to procure apples in Kashmir through the Nafed cooperative has “failed miserably” as only 0.01 per cent (136,000 boxes) out of 110 mln boxes has been purchased directly from growers so far.
Returning from a field visit to the valley, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) demanded that the central government should provide compensation to apple and other horticulture crops growers in Kashmir who have incurred losses due to unseasonal heavy snowfall as well as from lack of transport and cold storage assistance due to the political turmoil in the newly formed union territory.
The government decided to procure apples in the region in the wake of terrorists threatening some apple growers not to sell their produce in the market following abrogation of the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories.