‘Bumper crop’ of cherry in Kashmir after huge losses last year

‘Bumper crop’ of cherry in Kashmir after huge losses last year

SHOPIAN: The harvesting of a “bumper crop” of cherry has begun after improvement in weather in Kashmir, the state horticulture department saying that the fruit will cross 1,300 metric tonnes this year.
Kashmiri cherry growers saw huge losses last year when a large quantity of their cherry was damaged due to inclement weather. According to horticulture experts, more than 25 percent of the crop was damaged last year.
With renewed hope, hundreds of cherry growers in many parts of Kashmir have started picking cherry in recent days. Several types of this fruit are now being grown in Kashmir, such as Siya, Makhmali, and Vishkan. The average rates of these cherries are between 50-60 rupees in markets in and outside Kashmir.
Director of Horticulture, Kashmir, Ajaz Ahmad Bhat told Kashmir Reader that this year has seen a bumper cherry crop. He said last year Kashmir produced 11,000 metric tonnes of cherry.
“We expect there will be increase in the quantity of cherry crop in the valley but the current rates of cherry are Rs 50 on average, which are not satisfactory,” Bhat said.
The cherry crop last year, according to experts, brought Rs 70 crore gains to the orchardists and it is being expected that if the rains don’t cause damage this year, the figure will cross the rupees hundred-crore mark.
In recent years there has been an increase in the number of cherry growers in Kashmir, as thousands of trees were planted after the sector saw huge losses in the 2000s during which growers chopped hundreds of such orchards.
“We brought new varieties of cherry and planted them. There were many varieties which were resistant to rains and that was why people replanted the cherry trees,” said Nazir Ahmad Lone, an orchardist in Shopian.
Cherry is being considered as a mid-year money fetcher for people dependent on horticulture. “People grow these trees because in the middle of the year there is no source of income. The cherry comes as saviour for the orchardists,” said Javid Ahmad Shah, a cherry grower in Shopian.