Kashmir Indepth

“Cherry, Strawberry in the month of May”, Farmers urge Horticulture Dept to formulate early strategy, advocate home delivery across India

Srinagar, Apr 20 (KINS): The ongoing clampdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic has cast shadow on the prospectus of Cherry and Strawberry crop as farmers have serious apprehensions of facing another season of losses.

“Every year Cherry and Strawberry production is expected in the month of May. Both are quality fruits. In Cherry, we have two special varieties red and yellow. But how can we transport and export Cherry and Strawberry crop, if the lockdown remains in place,” Kashmir Fruit growers Association President Bashir Ahmed Bashir told news agency KINS.

He said that though there are reports that this lockdown would end on May 3, but if pandemic takes an ugly turn then what will happen to our crop.

He said after suffering huge losses due to the four-month long clampdown since August 5 last year, Kashmir’s fruit industry has now pinned hopes on this year’s fruit.

He added that the farmers are hopeful that government would find out some alternate or a mechanism so that Cherry and Strawberry crop reaches the markets on right time unlike what last year happed to the apple crop.

He said that the Horticulture department should wake up and formulate some strategy so that they are saved from facing losses in the coming months. “Even though local consumption of Cherry and Strawberry is also good but it’s not to that extent that entire Valley would consume our all produce. Kashmiri strawberry and cherry produce is recognized across India,” he maintained.

He said that the J&K government must work out some mechanism and ensure that “our production reaches markets on time.” “Let there be door to door delivery in rest of India for Cherry and Strawberry the way they are delivering other fruit and vegetable. Our concern is we should get full support from Horticulture this time. Otherwise, Kashmir’s fruit industry will sink this year,”

Meanwhile an orchardist from South Kashmir’s Anantnag district said that despite the last year’s Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) launched by the government, they suffered loses worth crores as apples didn’t reach the respective markets on time. “There were attacks on truckers also in South Kashmir districts which caused a huge dent to the apple export mechanism. And the J&K government’s much talked about MIS proved a damp-squib,” he said, wishing not to named. “Under MIS, some farmers received a meagre Rs 2000 as compensation, which tantamount to adding salt to an injury.”(KINS)

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