Jahangeer Ganaie

Weather advisory: Labour shortage pushes orchardists to work during night hours

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Pulwama/Shopian: The weather advisory cautioning farmers about a moderate to heavy downpour during the next few days has created panic among the orchardists in Shopian and Pulwama districts of south Kashmir as farmers were spotted harvesting the crop even during the dead of the night. The worry has compounded among the growers amid the shortage of labourers who have shifted outside the valley following the killing of some non-locals during the past week.
Growers from different areas of Shopian said that around 50 percent of their produce is still to be harvested and even a light snowfall can create havoc.
Mohammed Maqbool, an orchardist from Ramnagri area of Shopian said that his 60 percent produce is still to be harvested and anything he can do at this stage is to pray before Allah to avert the snowfall.
He said that he was ready to pay Rs 1000 to a labourer per day so that the harvest can be done.
“But as the non local labourers have left Kashmir, there is shortage of the work force which left his job of harvesting unfinished,” Maqbool added.
Shakeel Ahmad, another grower from Kachdoora area of Shopian said that their 60 percent produce is alo yet to be harvested and during the past two days all his family members have been working hard even during night hours so that most of the fruit is plucked.
He said that snowfall at this stage will create havoc as even the apple trees will face a risk of being damaged as the leaves are yet to witness autumn fall.
Other growers also echoed the same concerns and said that nobody except Allah can save them from facing loses.
Notably, the horticulture department has already advised people to pluck all fruits before 23rd October and start pruning with it simultaneously.
They also advised them to tie up branches of trees and cut the diseased branches.
The meteorological department has predicted heavy rains and snowfall in Kashmir region from Friday evening while peak activity is said to be happening on Saturday.


Jahangeer Ganaie

Jahangeer Ganaie is a reporter and covers regional news and can be contacted [email protected]

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