JKAP seeks welfare policy for fruit growers

Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) on Wednesday urged the government to approve one-time waiver of Kissan Credit Card (KCC) loans for farmers and fruit growers whose crops have been badly damaged by the incessant rains and hailstorm.

In a statement, senior party leader Shoaib Lone said the scale of relief announced under the state-specific special natural calamity funds for damaged orchards due to hailstorm and rains was quite inadequate given the quantum of destruction the fruit growers and farmers have faced in almost all districts of Kashmir.

“The mainstay of Kashmir’s economy is horticulture and this vital sector is unfortunately in shambles. The need is to announce a one-time waiver of KCC loan to the farmers and fruit growers whose harvest has been badly hit by the incessant rains and hailstorm,” he said.

Emphasizing the need for formation of district and divisional level committees to assess and redress issues of farmers and fruit growers, Lone appealed to Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu to ask the administration for framing a comprehensive policy.

“The government should chalk-out a concrete policy that will cater to the welfare of the farmers and fruit growers in the state and a fair representation should be given to the farming community and fruit growers in the government committees framed in this regard,” Lone said.

The JKAP leader observed Kashmir being more vulnerable to natural calamities was in dire need of crop insurance scheme to provide respite to the affected farmers and fruit growers, who suffer huge losses almost annually due to weather vagaries.

“Considering the importance of agriculture and horticulture sectors in J&K’s economy, the government should also facilitate hassle free availability of subsidized fertilizers, fungicides and pesticides to the farmers and fruit growers at a time when there is a manifold rise in prices of all inputs that has further led them to enter a new debt cycle,” he said.