Baramulla: Worried over the frequent changing weather conditions, the fruit growers from the apple rich areas of Baramulla district have urged the J&K administration to implement the Crop Insurance Scheme (CIS) forthwith.
President of Fruit Growers Association, Fruit Mandi Sopore, Fayaz Ahmad while advocating for immediate implementation of the CIS said that the fruit growers could no longer afford to wait for the implementation of this important scheme, which could save the growers from frequent losses occurring due to changing weather conditions.
“For the past 8 years, be it 2014 floods, frequent hailstorms, and other volatile conditions, the fruit growers witnessed huge losses. Despite assurances from the authorities about the implementation of CIS, nothing has been done so far,” Ahmad said.
Expressing concern over the non-implementation of CIS for Kashmir farmers, he said that when the same scheme was applicable in other parts of the country then why not in Kashmir
“The J&K administration, which is serious about reviving the local economy, needs to intervene and implement the scheme in the larger interest of the people of J&K,” Ahmad said. The fruit growers said that Kashmir’s Rs 13,500 crore apple industry cannot sustain without the support of the administration, especially in terms of coherent insurance policy.
According to them, unpredictable weather, hailstorms, heavy rains, and temperature fluctuations have been witnessed across Kashmir since the past decade, which makes the CIS extremely important for the sustainability of this important economic activity of Kashmir.
Ajaz Ahmad, a fruit grower from the Achabal area of Rafiabad, said that with insurance coverage, farmers were more likely to be eligible for loans and credit facilities from financial institutions.
He said financial institutions could feel more confident in providing credit to the farmers when there is protection against crop losses, as it reduces the risk of default. Ahmad said that under the current circumstances, a lot of farmers in Kashmir, who had taken loans under the Kissan Credit Card (KCC) scheme were unable to repay. Similarly, access to credit could enable farmers to invest in better inputs, equipment, and technological innovations, thus improving their farming practices.
Firdous Ahmad, another fruit grower from Rafiabad area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, while sharing his ordeal said that he suffered huge losses amounting to over Rs 10 lakh after the hailstorm accompanied by gusty winds destroyed his orchard.
He said though CIS cannot compensate him fully but at least it could provide an opportunity to emerge from the huge losses inflicted following the adverse weather conditions. “For the past few years we have been victims of the adverse weather conditions due to which growers have already suffered huge losses. The CIS can save the growers at least from devastation. The immediate intervention of the J&K administration is unavoidable now,” Ahmad said.