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Strawberry farmers stare at huge loss as April rains devastate crop

May 11, 2024

Srinagar: Inclement weather in April caused huge damage to the strawberry crop when it was in the crucial flowering stage.

Heavy downpours, far from nurturing the delicate blossoms, have instead inundated fields, resulting in substantial losses for farmers who were eagerly anticipating a fruitful harvest this season.

The flowering stage is a critical phase in the growth cycle of strawberries, as it determines the yield and quality of the crop. However, the heavy rains that lashed the region during April proved to be disastrous for farmers, as the incessant downpours caused widespread damage to the delicate blossoms.

“We were expecting a good yield this season. However, the heavy rains during April, when the strawberry crop was at its flowering stage, led to the failure of the crop at its initial stage. The rains and cold weather halt pollination following which the flowers wither,” said Mohammad Yaseen, a strawberry farmer from Zakoora.

He said the weather during May will play a crucial role for the strawberry crop. “The flowering of strawberries continues and if it rains or the temperature goes abnormally up, then we may face huge losses. We are still hopeful for favorable weather ahead,” Yaseen said.

Strawberries, one of the first cash crops of the horticulture sector of Jammu and Kashmir, are grown in Dara, and Gusoo areas on the outskirts of Srinagar besides other neighboring districts.

Given the huge profit margin, many farmers over the years have shifted from vegetable farming to strawberries in Kashmir. Gaasu village alone produces almost one thousand trays equal to 2000 kg daily.

The same ordeal is being narrated by the strawberry growers of the Tangmarg area who said the heavy rains led to the crop failure.

“This has become a routine for us to face heavy losses. Heavy rains during the Spring season cause huge damage to the strawberry plants. This season, we had a good strawberry bloom and it was expected that farmers would have a good yield,” Said Mohammad Ashiq Khan, a farmer from Tangmarg.

“We witnessed dry weather in March and later heavy rains in April. This weather pattern certainly affects the quality of the strawberry,” he said.

An official from the horticulture department said they expect a bumper crop as the crop is in its flowering stage yet.

“We will have a good production this season and we hope our farmers earn a good profit from the crop,” he said. (With KNO inputs)

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