1. Agriculture World

Kashmir Cherry Farmers Demand MSP amidst COVID-19

Aiswarya R Nair
Aiswarya R Nair

Kashmir cherry farmers demand Minimum Support Price(MSP) amidst this nationwide lockdown. According to official records, nearly 12,000 metric tonnes of cherries were produced in the Kashmir Valley this year. 

The minimum support price (MSP) is an agricultural product price set by the government of India to purchase directly from the farmer. This rate is to safeguard the farmer to a minimum profit for the harvest.

Kashmir Fruit Growers cum Dealers Union (KFGDU) criticized the Jammu and Kashmir administration for the failure in providing adequate railway and airline facilities to transport the yield. 

With low demand and deficient transport facilities crippling their business, the cherry growers in Kashmir have appealed to the administration for a minimum support price.

The cherry which has a very small shelf life would find readily available buyers in the outside markets. Kashmir exports nearly 4000 metric tonnes of cherries to other states every year.

KFGDU has urged the administration to provide a minimum support price of Rs 100 per kilogram for the cherry to protect the growers. If the government supports the proposal then the cherry farmers will have a sigh of relief for quite some time. 

Kashmir produces four types of cherries, that is, Awwal Number, Double, Mishri and Makhmali. The union noted that nearly Rs 150-200 crore turnover which is more than half the total of the production comes from Makhmali and Mishri varieties which were traditionally sent to the Mumbai markets.

The growers in the valley are staring at losses of crores of rupees with around 10 lakh families directly or indirectly connected with this industry. 

Cherries are grown on an estimated 2,713 hectares in Kashmir and over the years the production has increased. From 8,282 metric tonnes during 2016-17, the figure increased to 11,280 metric tonnes in 2017-18 and further to 11,789 metric tonnes in 2018-19.

Cherry is Kashmir's major cash crop.  Its harvest begins in the last week of May and extends till July the first week. 

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