Srinagar, May 9: Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Union Tuesday said that the high-speed hailstorm has wreaked havoc, resulting in uprooting tree trunks and extensive damage to orchards in several parts of Kashmir valley.
Chairman, KVFGDU, Bashir Ahmad Basheer in a statement said that the repercussions of this catastrophe are being felt throughout the horticulture industry, which serves as the backbone of Kashmir's economy. It is currently impossible to estimate the full extent of the damage caused.
"Districts such as Handwara, Kupwara, Pulwama, Shopian, as well as the higher reaches of Ganderbal and Budgam, have been particularly affected. The Fruit Growers are now concerned about the significant losses they might incur," it added.
To address this dire situation, the Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Union, representing all fruit associations in the region, has urgently requested the intervention of the Lieutenant Governor of J&K (UT).
The unions have also proposed the following measures: the immediate dispatch of a joint team from the Agriculture University (SKAUST) Shalimar, the Department of Horticulture, and the Development Department Kashmir to assess the damage inflicted by the recent heavy snow, rain, and hailstorm. The team would also provide necessary guidance to fruit growers on disease prevention for surviving trees.
"Implementation of a Crop Insurance Scheme, which the Fruit Growers have long advocated for, to provide some relief in the event of minor calamities. The union urges the government to expedite the implementation process, keeping the interests of Valley-based fruit growers in mind," it said.
"The Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Union Srinagar expresses its appreciation to the Central Government for lifting the ban on the import of low-priced apples, priced at Rs 50/- per kg," it added.