Srinagar: Early arrival of winter snow has caused severe damage to apple orchards in atleast two districts of South Kashmir.
In Shopian District, Keller, Saloo, Herpora and Abhama, Reshi Nagri, Imam Sahib and other adjacent villages have suffered damage due to the ongoing snowfall. Similar reports have come from Pulwama district.
In most of the places, 50-60 per cent of the apple production was yet to be harvested. The branches of trees were reported broken and apples have fallen to the ground.
The weatherman Sonam Lotus had forecast heavy rainfall and snowfall in the valley on 23-25 October.
Since Friday evening weather heavy rainfall in the plains and snowfall in upper reaches is being witnessed.
Amir Manzoor, an apple orchardist from Abhama village of Shopian, said that since last night there is incessant snowfall in the district.
“We had not yet started harvesting the crop and now due to the snow our apple orchards have suffered damage overnight and caused huge economical loss,” he says.
“When the snowfall started, all the orchardists ran to their orchards to save their production from the damage but how much could be saved when 60 per cent of the production was still on the trees,” he said.
He added that this year there was more production in the district compared to last year “but all in vain now”.
Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Farooq Ahmad Khan in a statement has directed Director General Horticulture to personally supervise the assessment process with loss to orchards and fruits in South Kashmir and depute staff to other areas to assess the damage.
He further said that he has asked the Principal Secretary Horticulture department to monitor the exercise regularly and provide all support to orchardists.
Another orchardist from Shopian said that “we are in the orchards since morning, picking apples that were destroyed. There is excessive damage to the orchards”.
Nazim Ahmad from Drubgam, Pulwama has the same story.
He said that in the village 50 per cent of production was yet to be harvested.
Earlier, the Horticulture department had issued an advisory and asked the apple and fruit growers to speed up the harvesting of apples after the weatherman predicted heavy snowfall and rainfall.