Cutting down on uncertainties
Uncertainty in many sectors in the state of Jammu and Kashmir has become a hallmark and the new sector that has been added to this list is the agriculture and horticulture sector.
These sectors have been witnessing huge loses primarily due to the disturbed conditions and now the weather is also playing its role to destabilize these critical sectors. Just last week the growers and traders associated with horticulture sector had to bear a loss of nearly 900 crore when the untimely snowfall wreaked havoc in almost entire south Kashmir region.
The losses to the apple industry were mammoth in proportion forcing the government to declare the November 3 snowfall as a natural calamity so that the growers and traders could be compensated partly for the loss they suffered.
The government’s move is appreciable, but what matters for the sector is a long term planning with a special thrust on improving the infrastructure so as to provide a back end support to this crucial industry.
It is the lack of infrastructure that is creating impediments and hampering the growth of our economy. One immediate solution to tackle such hiccups is involving the people concerned with the trade so that long term infrastructure is created which will provide the much needed boost to the economy besides, create new job opportunities.
One such effort was initiated in the horticulture sector and the initiative was conceived by the horticulture department and an association of fruit growers. The venture to construct 5000 metric ton controlled atmospheric (CA) store for preservation of fruits with an estimate cost of Rs 26 crore was to be started in Parimpora. The cost of establishing the plant would have been borne by the fruit dealers union itself.
However, the Horticulture Department has provided land measuring 7 kanals, 7 marlas for construction of the CA store at Parimpora fruit marketing complex.
This was one of its first kind of an initiative where any union or association instead of waiting for government funds, has taken a step to develop the facility for their common use. The move would have helped the growers to preserve fruits mostly apples for longer period and increase their revenue.
The calamity which the entire apple industry faced last week could have been avoided if timely deposition of fruits is done in these type of cold storages much ahead of the snowfall. This would not only help in protecting the crop but will also give the growers much tiome to devote to other activities like looking after the orchards.
The move to create facilities like cold storages and even general storage spaces will help the growers to deposit the crop at safe locations and be free from worries and vagaries of nature.
Kashmir is a highly unpredictable place as far as weather conditions are concerned. And if the calamity like the one the valley witnessed during the first week of November strikes again in near future, the apple industry will suffer great loses which will prove to be very dearly.