Last month’s inclement weather and hailstorms played havoc in J&K. President of North Kashmir Fruit Growers Association Fayaz Ahmad Malik stated: “[The] Cherry crop has witnessed large-scale damage due to the hailstorms. We have assessed the losses of the order of 60 percent in the valley. The areas which have been badly hit include Ganderbal, Tangmarg, Shopian, Faridabad, and other south Kashmir areas.”
Following large-scale damage to the crop, Malik said only a limited quantity of the cherry was arriving at Valley markets. “Compared to the previous years, a limited quantity of cheery is arriving in valley mandis. Due to the huge packaging and shipping costs, the farmers don’t take a risk to ship cherry. We feel that this year very little quantity might be going to outside Kashmir mandis as well.”
Kashmir Valley is known for producing 95 percent of India’s cherries. Kashmir annually sends around 3,500-4,000 tons of cherries to other states of India. Cherry is being cultivated in the region on around 2,800 hectares. Pertinently, last week, the horticulture department deputed teams of its officers to assess the damage to cherry and other crops due to the hail storm.