Video by: Rayees Ahmad | Article by: Sajad Rasool
The beginning of this year also started on a gloomy note for Kashmir’s apple growers, with less access to markets to purchase necessary chemicals for their apple crop, due to the lockdown imposed after the beginning of the pandemic, they suffer losses as most of the crop was badly damaged by different diseases.
We spoke with many orchardists from south Kashmir, who tell us how they suffered losses due to previous years’ lockdown and then due to the restrictions imposed by the government to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The story doesn’t just end here, the changing weather conditions in the past decade have also brought losses to the horticulture sector. Early snowfall in 2018 and 2019 resulted in heavy damages to the apple trees across the valley of Kashmir.
The valley produces seventy-five percent of apples in India, and horticulture is an important sector providing livelihood to around 3.3 million people. According to government data, Kashmir exports, 2.2 metric tonnes of apples every year to Indian and international markets.