After much wait, government rolls out crop insurance

Farmers least impressed after root stock uncovered

SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir government has finally woken up to provide insurance cover to four crops after horticulture sector faced immense loses for two consecutive years.
The government has invited bid for bringing four crops comprising Apple, mangoes, litchi and saffron under the insurance cover.
As per the document, the process of bidding is scheduled to be completed in a month from date of inviting tenders.
The insurance has covered all forms of rainfall seasons, up and downs in temperature, humidity, wind speed, and combination of all.
But growers are least impressed as according to them it does not cover root stock or trees, which mainly suffer damages during winters.
Like the November 7 untimely snow, orchards suffered massive losses as trees were uprooted or cracked in the middle. But such losses are not covered in the insurance, according to officials privy to the scheme.
The horticulture department has pegged initial losses due to snow at 35 percent across the Valley.
An apple grower in Shopian, Ali Mohammad, explains that root stock is vital as chances of suffering damages to trees are high in five month long winter.
Another farmer Wali Muhammad fears that the sector remains uncovered until the insurance is formally done because the government’s pace of work is unreliable.
“Last year, after we faced loses, government told us that it will offer insurance. It did not until we faced the same this year too,” he said.
A top official in Agriculture, however, said they are helpless about offering insurance to root stock because it is not possible.
“We are hopeful that things will be better for farmers by providing insurance cover to crops,” he added.

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