Fearing huge losses due to Covid-19 restrictions and non-availability of air and railway transportation, Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Union has urged the Government to provide a minimum support price of Rs 100 per kilogram of cherry.
The growers union also demanded immediate transportation of the cherry crop to different parts of the country.
In a statement, President Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Union Bashir Ahmad Basheer said the Union had time and again apprised Lt. Governors Administration of their problems in transporting the cherry crop to other parts of the valley and had sought its intervention but to no avail.
“We had sought help from Lt Governor Admin for taking up the matter with the airline and railway authorities for facilitating the quick transportation of cherry to different stations of the Country. Unfortunate, Lt. Governor’s Administration failed to provide facilities with the result the growers of the Valley are in acute mental agony.”
The union president said the Lt Governor’s Administration has been apprised that that about 13000 to 15000 metric tons of certain varieties of cherry are annually produced in Valley fetching a turnover of Rs 150- Rs 200 Crores. 60% of total produce are Makhmali and Mishri varieties which are exclusively as per past practice transported to Mumbai Mandi through Air cargo or by railway.”
Basheer said since Mumbai is extremely hit by Covid-19 and in view of threat of further spread of covid-19 there are curfew like situation in Mumbai, the Fruit Mandi Mumbai is, therefore, completely non-functional for any business with the result the Valley Based Cherry Growers and Dealers are not in a position to send these varieties to Mumbai.
He said Cherry Crop is extremely delicious fruit and warrants its transportation exclusively by Air or by Super fast Rail.
“Double Cherry variety is always lifted by the canning owners for canning purposes which are presently non functional in view of Covid-19. The Management of this Union had a meeting with the Canning Owners Association and stressed them for lifting the variety but they also refused in view of closure of their factories and uncertainty of its marketing.”
This Union has requested LG administration to consider minimum support prices of Rs 100 per kg for cherry so that poor growers who have constantly suffered heavy losses since the devastating flood of 2014 may heave a sigh of relief.
“Unfortunately Lt. Governors Administration did not pay any attention to our proposal till date leaving poor growers in distress.”
The Union President said at the time of Natural Disaster, the Government in Maharashtra and in other States of the Country provide minimum support prices for farmers why the same is not provided to Cherry Growers of the Valley.
“Since there is every apprehension of about total damage of Cherry Crop this year in view of Covid 19 restrictions, the growers of the Valley are, therefore, afraid of losses of thousand crores of rupees when about 10 lack families are directly or indirectly connected with this Industry.”
The union president said if preventive measures were not taken in advance the fruit industry of J&K will turn into a sick industry.