Snowfall aftermath: Apple stored at Shopian mandi damaged

Farmers slam authorities for failing to procure crop under MIS

Snowfall aftermath: Apple stored at Shopian mandi damaged

SHOPIAN: The season’s first snowfall has caused extensive damage to the apple stocked at fruit mandi Aglar in south Kashmir’s Shopian district, and the farmers here said they have suffered massive losses.
The farmers had stocked their apple crop at the mandi stalls to be sold under Market Intervention Scheme (MIS), after the authorities have asked farmers to bring their fruit boxes to the mandi.
“We were told to stock apple boxes here.However, even after two weeks, the crop is yet to be procured under MIS,” said Firdous Ahmad Tak, a local grower.
He said the concerned officials have not loaded a single truck in last one week.
The huge inflow of fruit boxes has led to surplus in the entire mandi after the halting of trucks by the authorities in wake of killing of non-locals in the area.
36 hours of incessant rainfall followed by massive snowfall started on Wednesday night and continued all day on Thursday has complicated the farmers’ problems, as a huge number of apple boxes have been damaged.
“A huge number cardboard apple boxes got damaged on the mandi stalls, which led to heavy losses to farmers,” the distressed farmers said.
Some farmers alleged that the distressed farmers have been facing tough time as only few farmers could only sell their crop to the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED), which is the
nodal agency for procuring apples. Majority of farmers have been waiting for their turn to sell apples for weeks together.
“I received the receipt from the officials after stocking the apple boxes two weeks ago. But still they have not sold it,” said a grower from Aliyalpora, adding, some influential people have managed to sell the crop within
days.
The administration was caught napping despite weather advisories issued by the Meteorological Department here- leading to total chaos and confusion among the people, according to the farmers.
Reports from several parts of Kashmir Valley said that the massive snowfall has caused widespread damage to the apple trees as the farmers have pruned roughly some 20 percent of their orchards, while as, maximum trees were
yet to be pruned.
This was the second snowfall in the month of November in Kashmir in last one decade, which has caused widespread damage to the mainstay of the Valley economy – horticulture.
An official in the J&K horticulture department said the department was still assessing the damages as the officials have been deployed to assess the damages.
The official also said that the farmers have stocked their crop on their own risk here.

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