Amid hopes of better paddy, incessant rains turn nightmare for cherry orchardists

Amid hopes of better paddy, incessant rains turn nightmare for cherry orchardists
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No market for damaged fruit

SHOPIAN: The ongoing rainfall has rekindled the hope among the paddy growers in southern districts of Kashmir as several areas were facing drought-like conditions after there was no water available for irrigation purposes after a less snow in the winters. The heavy rainfall, on the other hand, has turned a nightmare for many cherry growing orchardists in some southern parts of the valley.

The continuous heavy rains form last two days has destroyed the cherry crop as the cherries have developed cracks which according to experts will get decomposed soon and there is no market for damaged fruit.

Orchardists last year too had borne heavy losses after the cherries got damaged due to heavy rains in the harvesting season. An expert from horticulture department said that last year there was 50 percent damage in total quantity of crops but this year there would be more destruction in crops due to rains. “The majority of cherry crop is of Mishri variety and only 10 percent of its crop till date has been harvested. There are some newly introduced varieties which are resistant to rain but those too will get affected if the rains continued,” Gulzar Ahmad an expert said adding that there were no techniques with which the crops can be saved from rains.

According to official data, Shopian district this year was expecting 85 metric tonnes of cherry crops which experts say is a “bumper crop”. They said that the rains have washed the hopes of more gains to the orchardists.

Farooq Ahmad, an orchardist from Losedenow area of Shopian said that they delayed harvesting due to the decline in market rates. “We were not expecting such a blow, as I have harvested only 10 percent of Mishri variety due to the massive fall in market rates but the rains destroyed everything on which we worked hard,” he said.

The cherry crop after 2000 saw a decline due to the heavy rains and lower market rates. It seems that the cherry is facing the same problems which it faced more than a decade ago.

Experts say that the heavy rains would not spare the newly introduced varieties although they are resistant to rain and heat as compared to traditional varieties like Mishri, Dabal and Siya.