1-7-Sep-2014, A Dooms Day for Apple Farming in Kashmir

Aijaz Ahmad Bhat


Apple industry is main source of income in Kashmir, especially the people living in rural areas. Apple farming, strengthened the economics states of Kashmir from last two decades and is now economic hub of Kashmir. Directly as well as indirectly about 70% of rural population in Kashmir earn their living through apple farming. On the basis of these beneficiaries, farmers have now changed their mood of production. They (farmers) are now transforming Agricultural land into the Apple farming because Apple farming has comparatively more advantages than other agricultural production. The area under apple production is now increasing rapidly day by day while as area under agriculture is shrinking day by day.Apple industry was functioning with speed and rhythm, but 2014 floods have paralysed it. These floods have destroyed this industry at a large magnitude. Floods have created the problems like soil erosion, siltation, falling of leaves, loss of blossoms, cankers, root rots and complete damage of some areas due to the accumulation of water in orchards for a long time. Damages to fruit production have been reported to the extent of 52.9% , an area  127232 ha have been effected with production loss of  1119738 MTs  resulting in to the economic loss of 1565.00 Crore approx. The farmers have taken KCC and CCF loans on behalf of orchard lands to meet the cost of capital used in the production of apple crop. Farmers have to refund these loans to respective banks with interest of 7% and 12% respectively. But unfortunately floods have left farmers paralysed and income less, as their main source of income has damaged. So refunding such loans is big challenge to farmers.  The top most demand of flood effected farmers to government is to remit their KCC and CCF loans which they had taken for the production of apple. This could lead to problem of unemployment and restlessness among people if not taken into the consideration.  The government should immediately come forward to save this industry and should cooperate with the farmers to resolve their problems.

Keywords: Apple farming, Rural life, Luxury goods, Transforming land, 2014 floods, Soil erosion, root rots, cankers, production loss, KCC and CCF loans.

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