By Raashid Hassan
Shopian: Spray oils and fertilizers worth 80 crore are expected to be purchased in south Kashmir Pulwama and Shopian districts during March and April mostly to boost the horticulture produce of the area.
Agriculture and Horticulture officials told Kashmir Reader that 2800 kiloliters of spray oils and 45084 metric tonnes of fertilizers are estimated to be bought by growers in Pulwama and Shopian districts.
According to the horticulture estimates Pulwama consumes about Rs 24 corers on fertilizers and 12 corers on spray oils while as Shopian consumes 19 corers on spray oils and Rs 24 corers on fertilizers.
“Other than three compulsory fertilizers like Urea, DAP, Potash orchardists now also use Calcium Nitrate, Boron and other minerals which costs about Rs 10 corers,” said a top official.
Spray oil according to growers are used to tackle San Jose scale infestations that if left unchecked could damage the, be seriously.
Shabir Ahmad a grower from of Imamsahib area said that oil sprays are critical for controlling outburst of San Jose scale that resulting in reducing vigor of plants, thinning foliage and death of the tree.
South Kashmir Shopian district has 18,500 hectares of land under horticulture which consists mostly of apple, cherry and pear trees while it’s neighboring and Pulwama has 15,000 hectares under horticulture cultivation.
Officials from horticulture department say that with the spray oil is vital to curb many diseases like San Jose scale, an insect which sucks the aqua vitae from trees.
Chief Horticulture officer Shopian Abdul Hameed Bhat said that those who avoid oil spray in orchards can face heavy damage to the crops as well as trees with these diseases.
“We suggest people to use fertilizers and sprays as per the department schedule because most of the orchardists don’t know how to apply sprays and fertilizers,” Chief Horticulture officer Shopian Abdul Hameed Bhat said adding that sufficient supply of these has been made available.
However, growers are concerned about the quality of the chemicals and fertilizers available in the market.
Orchardists say that due to substandard pesticides and fungicides available in the markets growers have to bear lot of damage as disease are not controlled on time, calling for an immediate market checking to tackle the menace of spurious pesticides.