SRINAGAR, JUNE 09: Expressing concern over the damage to the standing crops and fruits due to recent hailstorm in north Kashmir, the Minister for Horticulture, Hajj & Auqaf, Mr. Abdul Rehman Veeri today directed the concerned authorities to rush joint teams of revenue and horticulture department officials to the affected areas for assessment of losses in the area.
Mr. Veeri said the people in Kashmir are mainly dependent on agriculture and horticulture for livelihood and damage to this sector due to hailstorm has set a serious blow to them.
The Minister said the administration of the Kupwara, Baramulla and Bandipora districts should act swiftly to assess the quantum of damage caused to the fruit crops and submit the report to the government for providing the necessary relief to the affected growers.
The Minister instructed the functionaries of horticulture and SKUAST to issue necessary advisory for spray of pesticides to save the damaged fruit.
Mr. Veeri also called for institutionalizing the crop insurance scheme in the State so that the growers are assured of compensation for the losses suffered during such types of natural calamities.
He observed that our orchards need a complete makeover so that both crop yield and quality of fruit match the standard benchmarks.
Referring to the huge damage suffered by the horticulture sector in last year’s floods, the Minister said an effective mechanism has to be worked out for providing weather-based crop insurance, in particular to apple orchardists, so that some sort of financial security and risk cover is extended to them. He said that the insurance scheme for fruit growers will also cater to the losses suffered on account of hailstorm.
The Minister said that under the new insurance scheme, the Government envisages to cover 70% of the total area under apple cultivation.
Mr. Veeri directed the Horticulture Department to expedite the modalities for providing insurance cover to the fruit growers, who remain vulnerable to weather vagaries.