Kupwara: In view of the inclement weather prediction, scores of apple growers across north Kashmir’s Kupwara district have expedited harvesting of their crops by opting for night shifts to pluck their produce in order to prevent losses.
“Keeping in view the recent weather advisory by the Meteorological Department, we are harvesting apple crop during night time as well so that our orchards may not witness damage which was the case earlier as untimely snowfall damaged scores of crop laden trees,” said Zubair Ahmad an apple grower from Ahgam Rajwar.
“Last year in many areas harvesting of apple crops had not culminated when early snowfall damaged orchards, so keeping in view that we are harvesting crops during night time also,” he added.
“Since the horticulture department has issued an advisory to apple growers to speed up harvesting, we are acting on the advisory and harvesting the crop at the earliest,” an apple grower from Lolab said.
However due to recent incidents of killings of non-local laborers, most of these seasonal workers have left due to fear, however it has left orchardists high and dry as they fail to find laborers for harvesting crops.
Another farmer said that they were facing tough challenges in harvesting because labourers were not easily available to them. He said that those available were demanding Rs 700 per day which has compelled them to harvest apples on their own during late nights.
Farmers have also started hammering of paddy crops across the district in view of inclement weather advisory.
Meanwhile a senior horticulture officer said farmers need not to panic. They should abide by all those instructions which have been issued earlier to avoid any loss.
It is pertinent to mention that the Horticulture Department Kashmir issued an advisory to apple growers to harvest apple crops as early as possible in view of early snowfall as predicted by the Meteorological department.
As per the advisory, in view of the weather forecast by Meteorological Department with possibility of Heavy Rains and Snowfall in Kashmir Division on 23rd and 24th of October the Department of Horticulture urges fruit growers to speedup harvesting of fruits and its proper storage.
As per officials, farmers have been asked to remain vigilant and in case of snowfall must visit their orchards periodically and shake trees so that snow does not accumulate on the limbs, they added.
Farmers may also prefer to start pruning in their orchards, in view of the harsh weather advisory.