COVID-19: uncertain times for Kashmir’s cherry growers
Lockdown has further impacted the market chain which had been disrupted because of the curfew
- Kashmir’s first crop of cherry fruit, expected to cross the 11,000 metric tonne (MT) mark this year, is staring at uncertain times due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown.
- Double Glass, a variety of cherry, will hit the markets next month.
- The fruit growers have already suffered huge losses due to last year’s clampdown and subsequent lockdown.
- The official figures suggest that the yield, 11,789 MT in 2018 and 11,000 MT in 2019, would see a significant jump due to the introduction of high density variety of trees in recent years.
- The shelf life of the cherry is short and around 50% is transported outside every year.
- According to official figures, around 400 MT was transported by road though refrigerated vans last year.
- Besides, 400 MT more was ferried in trains and 900 MT by air.
- The orchardists, who have tended over 2,713 hectares, have demanded that all the cart vendors in the Valley be allowed to sell cherry in the open markets locally.
- Produced on the outskirts of Srinagar’s Harwan-Zakura belt, Ganderbal, Tangmarg and Shopian districts, the harvest season will start in the last week of May and end by the first week of July.