Snow-stricken Kashmiri apple growers seek loan waiver and adequate reparation to overcome losses – The New Indian Express


Through Express news service

SRINAGAR: Hit by unusual snowfall last week in Kashmir, apple growers demanded waiver of Kisan credit card loans and adequate government assistance saying their orchards were badly damaged.

Snowfall was intense in the upper parts of southern Kashmir, causing heavy damage to orchards in the Shopian and Kulgam belts.

Mohammad Ashraf, president of Fruit Mandi-Shopian, told this newspaper that the apple orchards of the upper Shopian and Kulgam belt were the most affected by the snowfall.

He said 25-30% of the apple yield in Shopian and Kulgam was damaged due to snowfall.

“However, what concerns us most is the damage to apple trees. About 50-60% of apple trees in the upper reaches of Shopian and Kulgam were damaged and many trees were completely uprooted.

Ashraf urged the government to assess the damage to adequately compensate producers. He said the government should forgo KCC loans of Rs 3 lakh and also compensate for the losses.

Kashmir Fruit Growers and Traders Union President Basheer Ahmad Basheer said that in 2019 the government paid Rs 2,000-4,000 in compensation to apple growers.

“The amount is a joke. It takes 10 to 15 years for the apple tree to grow. Basheer also urged the administration to introduce crop insurance so that producers can be compensated in the event of losses due to the vagaries of the weather.

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