1. Agriculture World

Srinagar Farmers Demand Loan Waiver as Hailstorm Destroys 70% Fruit Crop

According to the Meteorological Department, hot and dry weather will prevail in the UT for the next five days, but isolated hailstorms cannot be ruled out. According to the DG, orchards in Gulmarg and Tangmarg have suffered minimal damage, with only 5% of the crop affected.

Shivam Dwivedi
Apple covered with snow
Apple covered with snow

Fruit trees on the outskirts of Srinagar were severely damaged by the hailstorm that hit parts of Kashmir recently. The hailstorm damaged 70 percent of cherry, walnut, and apple orchards in Harwan and Fakeer Gujri on the outskirts of Srinagar, according to a preliminary assessment by the Horticulture Department in Kashmir.

"The hailstorm lasted about an hour in Fakeer Gujri, Dhara, and Harwan, destroying many crops like Cherry, Walnut, Apple, Mustard Oil, Vegetables, and Pulses," said Director General Horticulture Ajaz Ahmad Bhat.

A waiver for this year's Kisan Credit Card Loan (KCC Loan) has been requested by the affected farmers. Bhat, who assessed the situation in Harwan and the surrounding areas, said he has paid farmers Rs 10,000 so far and "will do more whatever is in my capacity," he said.

"The matter will be discussed with other concerned authorities before reaching a decision," the DG Horticulture said of the farmers' demand to waive this year's KCC.

According to the DG, orchards in Gulmarg and Tangmarg have suffered minimal damage, with only 5% of the crop affected.

According to the Meteorological Department, hot and dry weather will prevail in the UT for the next five days, but isolated hailstorms cannot be ruled out.

When asked about precautions taken prior to hailstorms to protect orchards from damage, the DG Horticulture said the department is planning to purchase safety nets that can be installed over the fruit trees.

"We've started the process of getting those nets, and we expect them to be available soon," the DG added.

Meanwhile, the Horticulture Department has issued a warning to affected farmers, advising them to spray fungicides on their damaged orchards.

Horticulture is the mainstay of Kashmir's economy, employing 700,000 people directly or indirectly. Horticulture accounts for more than 8% of Jammu and Kashmir's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In the valley, more than 338,000 hectares of land are dedicated to fruit cultivation, with 162,000 hectares dedicated to apple cultivation.

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