South Kashmir Loses 50 Per Cent Almond Crop To Heavy Snow

South Kashmir Loses 50 Per Cent Almond Crop To Heavy Snow

17 March 2014
Greater Kashmir
Khalid Gul

Pulwama: The recent snowfall has damaged over 50 per cent almond crop in this South Kashmir district. The snowfall has also caused extensive damage to apple trees in Shopian and Kulgam. Growers in Pulwama, one of the major almond producing areas in Kashmir, said the heavy snowfall damaged the almond trees and smashed their branches. 'Though we had done timely pruning of the trees, the snow weighing heavy cracked and damaged their branches and at many places smashed the trees,' Manzoor Ahmad, a grower from Koil area of Pulwama district said. Pertinently, according to the growers, Koil and Lajoora areas bore the maximum brunt of the damage reporting up to 70 percent loss to the fruit trees. Officials in horticulture department said that the loss suffered by the almond orchards in Pulwama district is around 50 percent. 'We are carrying the final assessment to assess the exact loss,' said District Horticulture Officer, Pulwama, Hilal Ahmad. However, he said their preliminary assessment suggests that the almond fruit has suffered loss ranging from 40 to 50 percent. The officials said the damage was extensive due to high moisture in the ground. 'The moisture content in the soil was high and as the trees were regaining liveliness. With the arrival of spring they had begun put on weight,' they said. The areas in Pulwama heavily hit by the losses to almond orchards are: Koil, Newa, Lajoora, Payar, Zadoora, Nidoora (Awantipora) and Hariparigam, Amlar (Tral). Reports of damage to almond trees were also received from Shopian, Kulgam and Islamabad districts. 'We have been time and again asking the government to provide insurance cover to the fruit industry but every time our pleas have fallen on deaf ears,' Mushtaq Ahmad, a grower said. He said the state government should declare the recent snowfall a natural calamity to compensate the affected growers adequately. The damage to apple industry in Shopian district is also extensive. President Fruit Growers’ Association, Mir Muhammad Amin said that there has been extensive damage to the apple trees in areas namely Zawoora, Sedhaw, Kellar, Bamnoo, Yachgoz, Narpora and Divpora. Loss to apple trees has also been reported from Damhal Hanjipora in Kulgam district. However, officials in Horticulture department said that the damage to apple industry is not as high. Around 10 percent apple trees incurred partial damage,' said Chief Horticulture Officer. Shopian, Mukhtar Ahmad.