Spurious Pesticides, Bad Weather Spoil 60% Apple Production

Spurious Pesticides, Bad Weather Spoil 60% Apple Production

22 September 2013
Kashmir Times
Sana Altaf

Srinagar: Substandard pesticides coupled with the vagaries of weather have affected over 60 percent apple production in Kashmir. Growers from different parts of the Valley told Kashmir Times that 40 percent crop was damaged by substandard pesticides while the remaining 20 percent was spoiled by bad weather. “Markets in Kashmir are full of substandard and spurious pesticides and fungicides. Their use affected the crop by nearly 40 percent,” said Fayaz Ahmad, president fruit growers association, Sopore. He said extreme hot temperatures in the month of July followed but incessant rains, drop in temperatures resulted in leaf fall. “With the leaf fall, apples got spoiled, resulting in damage to nearly 60 percent apple crop across Kashmir.” The apple crop has been affected by alternaria leaf blotch disease. Fayaz says extreme damaged has been caused in some parts of Kashmir. “Government is non serious about the substandard sprays available in the market. It has affected our horticulture,” Fayaz added. The apple production has degraded from grade A to C, the growers said. Bashir Ahmad Bashir from fruit growers association, Parimpora added that though there has not been decline in production but major apple crop has been spoiled. “There is no check on spurious pesticides and sprays. No proper testing takes place in Kashmir which is dependant on horticulture.” Bashir added SKUAST did not create any awareness amongst the farmers about the possible damage to the crops. “Farmers are illiterate and uneducated. They need to be informed about how the weather is going to affect their crop and what steps should be taken. But no such thing happened.” Ghulam Mustafa, a grower from Shopian said 80 percent damaged was caused by the disease to his orchards. He is unable to find ways to compensate for losses. “There are no schemes or policies which safeguard us in these times. We suffer alone.” Growers unanimously said if government does not take steps to safeguard horticulture, it will result in a catastrophe. Head of the Department, Plant Pathology, SKUAST, Dr Ghluam Nabi Bhat said enough damage has been caused to the apple production due to weather. “But those farmers who had followed spray patterns recommended by us have suffered less loss.” Bhat admitted on the presence of spurious pesticides in the market. “We recommend only few brands of sprays but some farmers go to the market and buy anything which affects their crop.” He advised the growers to follow the recommendations of the university and use only recommended pesticides and sprays to avoid damage.