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Hailstorm aftermath: Govt compiles report, says fruit crops in twin Kashmir districts suffer over 40% losses

Report to be forwarded to Div Com, Principal Secretary today: Dir Horticulture; Losses can be prevented by using hail gunshots, anti-hail nets: Experts

SRINAGAR, MAY 17The fruit crops in twin districts of Kashmir have suffered over 40 per cent of losses with the department concerned stating that the report compiled will be forwarded to Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir and Principal Secretary Horticulture department by today (Monday) evening.

According to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the frequent hailstorm in the last couple of days caused extensive losses to the apple orchards and other fruit crops across the Valley, leaving the growers worried.

Manzoor Ahmad, a fruit grower from Kulgam district stated that the frequent hailstorm has left the entire community anguished as it has led to the huge losses yet again. “In the last couple of years, the growers have been suffering huge losses due to one reason or another,” he said.

Meanwhile, Director Horticulture, Kashmir Aijaz Ahmad Dar told KNO that South Kashmir’s Kulgam district and Handwara area in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district have suffered 40 per cent losses due to the hailstorm.

“We have collected the data after assessment two to three days back. The fresh damage to fruit crops due to hailstorm has not been compiled yet. The previous data collected has been compiled and the report will be sent to Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir P K Pole and Principal Secretary Horticulture Navin Kumar Choudhary by today only,” he said.

The damage to fruit crops occurred almost everywhere in the Valley, but some pockets in Kulgam and Handwara have suffered extensive losses, which takes the figure up to around 40 per cent losses as per the assessment done so far.

He added that the losses to fruit crops in other districts vary as somewhere the damage is five per cent while at some places it is about ten per cent and not more than that.

Chief Horticulture Officer (CHO) Kupwara, Farooq Ahmad Tantrey said that the apple orchards are mostly affected in the recent hailstorm while walnut crops suffered a bit less losses as compared to the other crops.

“Almost all the fruit crops have suffered over 40 per cent losses in Handwara area of the district,” he said, adding that the figure of losses is less in other areas of the district.

Chief Horticulture Officer (CHO) Kulgam, Muhammad Iqbal Baba said that the worst hit villages in the districts include Awgam, Zazripora and Puniwah where damage to the maximum extent has taken place. Other areas where moderate hailstorm hailstorm has been reported are Nowpora, Daderkoot, Checki Hanjan, Hanjan, Sheganpora, Sofipora, Akipora, Behibagh, Srandoo, Arreh, Mohammadpora, Tazipora, Khandypora, Batapora,Jadipora Dedipora, Shurath, Laroo, Kharvot, Sangus, Akipora, Awhatoo, he said.

The hailstorm yesterday (Sunday) caused damage to the crops in Sanigam, Bogam, Tchensar and Schuch, he said, adding that the field agency has been asked to prepare the damage report in consultation with PRIs and revenue agencies and submit the same to his office for onward submission to higher quarters.

He said that according to the advisory related to post hailstorm sprays, the orchardists should make spray of fungicides (per 100 liters of water).  In this connection, Zineb 68%+Hexaconazole 4% WP (100g) or Metiram 55% +Pyraclostrobin 5% 60WG or Mancozeb 75WP (300g) or Zineb 7WP (300g) can be used.

In addition to the above, the orchards may be sprayed with urea @ 2% (200g per 100 liters of water) 3 days after the above spray. The advisory asks for maintaining proper orchard sanitation and removing fallen leaves from the orchard, he informed.

Moreover, Dr. Lateef Ahmad, Scientist Agrometeorology an expert said that hailstorm is an instant climate phenomenon, saying that the marginal farmer or people having small fields can prevent the losses due to the hailstorm.

“Hail guns and anti-hail nets can help in preventing the losses to the fruits due to the hailstorm. Per shot of hail gun costs Rs one lakh, which helps in converting the hailstorm into rains,” he said.

He added that anti-hail nets are also one of the tools to prevent the losses due to the hailstorm, adding that the anti-hail nets can help in preventing losses at small fields while the losses can’t be prevented at commercial land as it would take time to put up an anti-hail net over the land in a shortest possible after the weather forecast by the concerned agencies.

He said that the government should consider starting Agri Insurance for the farmers, saying that it could prove fruitful for them. He also stated that at present research is going on at NIT to come up with a sensor-based umbrella, which will help in preventing the losses.

Another expert termed the hailstorm as ‘global pandemic’, saying that putting up the hail nets on the crops spread over several acres of land is almost impossible, adding that one cannot put up the net over the huge land in a hurry rush after getting the latest weather advisory—(KNO)


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