SRINAGAR: The damage caused by the floods in September has deprived Kashmir Valley of the locally grown vegetables, forcing the consumers to buy the non-local varieties at expensive rates.
According to the growers, the fields have been too wet post floods for cultivation. Consequently, they said, the Valley’s vegetable produce for winter has been significantly less as compared to the previous years.
“Only the farmers from unaffected areas were able to grow vegetable for winter; in the flood-hit areas, the condition of the land wasn’t conducive for cultivation,” Mohammad Aslam, a grower from Mir Behri area in the interiors of Dal Lake here, told Kashmir Reader.
“Unfortunately, the areas affected by the floods were the major suppliers of vegetables for the Valley. So, the absence of the local varieties from the markets is obvious,” he added.
The Valley has become excessively dependent upon the supplies from the outside state like Delhi and Punjab. As per the wholesalers, the vegetables such as turnip, carrot, radish, and kale, whose local varieties are otherwise preferred in the Valley, are all being supplied from outside.
“During winters, the markets are usually flooded with the supply (of vegetables) from Dal Lake and its adjoining areas, resulting in moderate demand for the supplies from outside,” President Iqbal Sabzi Mandi at Batamaloo here, Mohammad Shafi Rah, told Kashmir Reader.
“But this year, we have no option but to get supplies from the other states,” he said, believing that it would take about six months for the Valley to resume vegetable cultivation.
The situation has resulted in cost escalation of vegetables in the Valley. For instance, the wholesale price of tomatoes is Rs 950 per case against the last year’s price of Rs 650.
Rah said the prices of few vegetables have increased by about “300 per cent” over the last winter.
“The local varieties used to be cheaper, but the non-local products are expensive due to transportations charges and other additional costs,” he said.