Bhaderwah/Jammu: Fruit growers of Jammu and Kahsmir’s Doda district accused the horticulture department of having failed to provide them enough pesticides and information about disease forecast and other modern technologies, leading to loss of crops every season.
Local authorities, however, said they have not received any such complaints, and assured prompt action to resolve any issues.
Bhadarwah valley which is popular for growing aromatic plants is one of the largest producer of apple, walnut and pears in Jammu having 5,913, 4,222 and 1,399 hactares under the cultivation of the three fruits, respectively.
Owners of the orchards said they are expecting a bumper crop this season due to increased flowering on their trees. However, they said the potential of this region was not fully realised despite the central government’s focus on increasing farmers’ income across the country.
“We are hopeful of a bumper crop due to maximum flowering on trees of apples, pears, walnut, apricot and plum this year. But we are facing a lot of difficulties due to indifferent attitude of the concerned horticulture department,” said Sheikh Mohammad, head a fruit growers’ body of Chenab region.
Shafi claimed that the farmers lack modern technology like disease forecasting system even though it has been introduced across the country years back.
“Leave alone the introduction of disease forecasting system, officials of the horticulture department and Krishi Vigyan Kendras do not provide any help to the farmers, not even the required pesticides. We need to travel 300 km to Kashmir to buy pesticides. If provided technical help, we will be able to produce disease-free fruits,” he said.
Deepak Kumar, a fruit grower from Bharova village in Bhadarwah, said the lack of modern technology of fruit cultivation is causing huge losses to farmers.
“Horticulture department, subject matter specialists and scientist of Krishi Vigyan Kendra Bhadarwah have so far failed to keep a check on pre- and post-harvest problems, enhancement of processing industry and flow of substandard fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides and fungicides,” Partap Singh, a walnut grower, said.
Farmers have been demanding hassle-free availability of standard fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides and fungicides to ensure quality produce so as to reduce losses. They also want better coordination between the research institutions, horticulture department and the growers.
When contacted, Vikas Sharma, District Development Commissioner Doda, assured that he will look into the issue and take immediate corrective measures.
“So far I have not received a formal complaint from farmers. But if there is an issue with the fruit growers, it will be sorted out on priority,” Sharma said.