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Horticulture loss due to snowfall: Kashmir Chamber wants Govt to implement crop insurance scheme


Srinagar, Nov 5: Following a recent snowfall that left thousands of the apple orchards damaged all over the valley, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday sought the attention of government officials towards the in-principle approval for adopting the Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS) for horticulture crops such as apple and saffron given by the then Cabinet in March, 2018.

The spokesman said that the declared objective of the in-principle approval was “to provide insurance coverage and financial support to farmers in the event of failure of any of the notified crops as a result of adverse weather incidences”.


He said that the preliminary assessment of KCC&I suggesting upwards of Rs. 500 Crores, to our Horticulture Industry, the KCCI wants to know the reasons for Kashmir, having a production of more than 80 percent of the total production of the Country, being the only place deprived of this safety cover.

The KCC&I is happy to learn that the Crop Insurance Scheme is operational in Jammu province since Kharif 2017 but at the same time anguished that being more prone to the vagaries of nature, Kashmir stands ignored in this regard. We understand that the clock cannot be turned back but as the delay has cost our farmers and orchardists dearly and our horticulture sector stands in its own ruins.

Kashmir Chamber: the new team elected to office in September 2018- (LtoR) Nasir Hameed Khan, Sheikh Ashiq, Dr Abdul Majid Mir, Farooq Amin, Sheikh Gowhar Ali and Manzoor Ahmad Pakhtoon

The trade body in a statement has asked the advisors of the Governor of J&K, Khurshid Ganai, Vijay Kumar, Bharat Bhushan Vyas, and the Chief Secretary, Government of Jammu & Kashmir to answer the following questions.

The questions are, Identify the persons in the system who by their negligence, willful or otherwise, have delayed the implementation of the Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS) in Kashmir?

Will the State own responsibility for the failure to provide this cover and how it will compensate this sector?

Despite the adverse weather forecast available more than three weeks ago, what steps were taken to protect the life and property of the population?
The spokesman added that Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry would expect His Excellency to now take effective measures to provide all possible support to our Horticulture Sector in these times of distress and pain.


SKUAST issues advisory for orchards affected by snowfall

Srinagar, Nov 5: Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology (SKUAST), Kashmir today issued an advisory for the orchards affected by the snowfall elaborating a number of steps for the growers to protect the produce from damages.

As per the advisory, growers have been asked to drain out excess water from the orchards by making drainage channels. “If the fruit trees have tilted, reduce the canopy load by pruning and provide proper support to the plants,” the advisory reads.

Growers have been advised to slowly pull back the trees to the original position after heavy pruning and provide proper support/staking to the main trunk to prevent further fall/ movement, if the trees are partially uprooted.

“If the top portion of the tree is broken, slantingly cut the damaged branch 2-3 inches below the broken point and apply Bordeaux /Chaubatia paste on the cut surface,” the advisory said.

Further, if any scaffold branch is broken and bark is still intact, bring the branch to the original position by tying with a rope and/or using stainless steel nails. Ensure that the union remains tight and apply Bordeaux/Chaubatia paste on the cut surface.

It says if the main trunk is split into two or three parts it can be treated the same way as aforementioned.

Moreover, if roots have become exposed/naked, immediately cover the roots with soil to avoid further damage.
According to the advisory, fruits still on the tree be harvested immediately for sale/storage.

“Clear the snow fallen on heaped harvested fruit in orchards and store the fruits under proper cover (in sheds) to prevent it from frost injury.
“Maintain orchard sanitation by removing debris and damaged plant parts and collecting fallen fruits, leaves and twigs and dispose of them by burying/composting,” the advisory added.


Dir Horticulture visits snowfall affected districts in south Kashmir

Srinagar, Nov 5: Director Horticulture Kashmir today visited the snowfall affected districts of South Kashmir for assessing the situation created due to the untimely snowfall.
The Director Horticulture Kashmir was accompanied by a team of Officers and field functionaries of the Horticulture department and officials of the Revenue authorities.svg%3E
During his visit, the Director took stock of the situation and gave on spot instructions to the concerned officers of the department for issuing an advisory on post-snow damages for remedial measures in order to safeguard the un-harvested fruit crops and damaged fruit trees. The officials were asked to assess the loss and damages caused to the un-harvested fruit/fruit trees and fruit plant nurseries of the area and furnish the same to the Directorate of Horticulture Kashmir, so that the Government can be apprised of the damages and the losses occurred to the fruit crop/fruit trees due to this unexpected snowfall accordingly.
Moreover, the Chief Horticulture Officers of the Kashmir valley have been directed to gear up their field functionaries for providing advisory on post-snow damages for remedial measures in order to safeguard the un-harvested fruit crops and damaged fruit trees and related technical guidance to the orchardist community for tackling the situation.


Fruit industry backbone of Kashmir’s economy: Mehbooba

Srinagar, Nov 5: PDP President Mehbooba Mufti on Monday while meeting delegations from Sopore and Khansahib areas stressed for the mitigation of the losses incurred by Kashmir’s fruit growers, stating that the government is duty bound to safeguard Kashmir’s horticulture sector which acts as a backbone to state’s economy.
According to party spokesman, the PDP chief held detailed deliberations with the people from north Kashmir’s Sopore and central Kashmir’s Khansahib areas and sought details from them about the aftermath of the recent unseasonal snowfall and the damages incurred by the orchardists at large in Kashmir.
Mehbooba underscored further the vitality of the horticulture in the state while highlighting that same is the mainstay of the economy in Kashmir with 2.3 million people associated with the sector and 237,000 hectares of land in the valley under fruit cultivation.
She added that the change in the weather pattern in Kashmir has been hitting Kashmir’s fruit industry over the years and that from the record apple production of over 2.2 million tons in 2014, climate change and unseasonal rains and snowfall has restricted the crop to mere 1.3 million tons as per various estimated.
The PDP President added that the recent snowfall in Kashmir has wrecked havoc on region’s fruit growers with damage caused to the crops turning calamitous with each passing day. She further added that the government is duty bound to mitigate the losses incurred by the farmers and fruit growers in the state so that they could save themselves from getting debt-ridden and being caught in the midst of the tumultuous times.
Mehbooba said comprehensive assessment of the losses must be initiated without any further delay by the government and the areas which are far- flung and where damage is massive merits government’s immediate attention.
As per the spokesman, PDP General Secretary from central Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura, Irshad Ahmad Kar and various party functionaries who were also present during the meeting that was chaired by the PDP chief.