snow on apples
In Central Kashmir, Budgam fruit growers have been complaining of losses to both produce as well as to the apple plants.

The early snowfall in Kashmir has wreaked havoc on orchards in Valley as around 20 to 30 percent of the apple harvest is yet to be plucked from plants or is lying in the orchards waiting for packaging.

"20 to 30 percent of the apple production is still lying on plants. Fruit growers were waiting to supply it in this week due to upcoming Diwali festival. However, heavy snowfall has put in peril estimated Rs 1000 crore worth fruits across Kashmir. As post snow, we don't how much would be the extent of damage," said Chairman Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Association, Bashir Ahmad Basheer.

"Snow has wreaked havoc with fruit trees. Over Rs 1000 crore worth fruits have been affected by this early snowfall as per our estimates. Around 20 percent of the crop was yet to be harvested, besides huge quantity of apple was lying in orchards awaiting package," said President, Sopore Fruit Mandi, Fayaz Ahmad Malik.

"Tentatively around 20 percent of the produce this year was yet to be exported. At a rough estimate, apple contributes Rs 8000 crore to exports. At conservative estimate Rs 1000 crore worth fruits are still lying in Kashmir which have been hit by the snow and there is uncertainty whether snow affected fruit would be marketable or not," Malik added.

In Central Kashmir, Budgam fruit growers have been complaining of losses to both produce as well as to the apple plants.

President, Fruit growers association Charar-i- Sharief, Bashir Ahmad said they have recorded huge losses to the fruit orchards. "In our district around 20 to 30 percent of the harvest was still on plants. The snow damaged the trees and caused frost to the trees which have serious financial implication of fruit growers."

He said that government should have introduced crop insurance as the apple is the highest revenue earning cash crop for the state. "But unfortunately in Jammu crop insurance has been rolled out, but in Kashmir it is yet to be implemented.

Besides the losses incurred due to damages, growers are also worried due to fact that their fruit laden trucks are stranded on Srinagar-Jammu highway. They had dispatched the consignment with the view to sell it during the upcoming Diwali festival across India.

However according to Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers cum Dealers union, Basheer said unfortunately instructions to allow movement of fruit laden trucks have not been implemented on ground by the traffic personnel deployed on Srinagar-Jammu National highway instead these fruit loaded trucks are constantly stopped for days together on Srinagar-Jammu highway.

In fact during the month of September to November the harvesting of Apple crop takes place and in absence of cold storage facilities every grower of the valley is in hurry to dispatch their produce to outside mandis.

"Since Diwali and Chatth Puja festivals are to be celebrated from November 7 to 14the bulk quantity of apple crop is essentially required to be available in different parts of the country for which hassle free passage of fruit laden trucks on Srinagar-Jammu National highway needs to be make possible in every respect," he added.

"Moreso when these fruit loaded trucks finally reaches in different Mandi's all together the Apple crop doesn't fetch good return because of bulk quantity with the result the valley based fruit Growers/Dealers faces losses of crore of rupees," Basheer added.