In golden-brown autumn, farmers recap losses to farm sector

In golden-brown autumn, farmers recap losses to farm sector

Losses to the agriculture sector in flood-ravaged Kashmir have been pegged at Rs 3,674 crore as crops on three lakh hectares of land have been damaged by the natural calamity.

The busy golden-brown autumn, the king of Kashmir’s seasons, has turned into a nightmare for the farmers in this South Kashmir village. The grief stricken farmers are consoling each other over the enormous loss they have suffered in the recent floods that hit Kashmir early September.

The loss, the farmers here say have broken their back. “The floods wiped off the farmlands and destroyed standing paddy crops,” they say.

Ghulam Rasool Bhat (67), a paddy farmer states that the flood was the worst ever disaster he has ever seen in his life.

“I lost everything. My house has been damaged. Farmland of 100 kanals remained under water for three weeks damaging all standing paddy crop and now even the grass in the fields is not fit for fodder,” Bhat said.

He adds: “Last year, I had harvested more than 100 quintals of paddy, but now I have to beg for it.”    

Losses to the agriculture sector in flood-ravaged Kashmir have been pegged at Rs 3,674 crore as crops on three lakh hectares of land have been damaged by the natural calamity.

Districts of Anantnag, Pulwama and Kulgam are the considered to be the traditional rice bowl zones in Kashmir. The endless spread of golden-brown rice fields would sooth the eyes of the beholder and was also the pride of the farmer before the floods plundered the fields. However, now the situation is grim as these farms are turned into heaps of abandoned grass.

The villagers also complain severe shortage of fodder for the cattle. “The mud-splattered grass in the fields is not fit for animal consumption.  We are now purchasing the grass from the open market which is too costly,” they say.

“Last year a truckload of dry grass cost Rs 13,000. Now it is difficult to get the same quantity even for Rs 30,000. The winter is going to be miserable for our livestock. There simply isn’t enough to feed them,” Mehraj ud Din of Pulwama said.