SRINAGAR — Despite the bumper cherry crop this year, very low rates of the produce are marring the hopes of growers across the Kashmir Valley.
Growers told news agency Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that the harvesting of the cherry crop in Kashmir is underway and despite early hot weather, the farmers are pleased with the produce. However, the prevalent low prices have become a cause of concern for farmers.
Mohammad Yousuf, a grower from Shopian, told KNO that the crop is at an all time low and farmers aren’t even fetching the amount they spent on spraying and fertilizers.
“Despite COVID-19 last year, we were selling a cherry box containing 2 kg cherry for Rs 300 but this year the same box with better quality cherry is fetching just 90 to 100 rupees,” he said.
Bashir Ahmad Basheer, chairman Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers and Dealers Union, while talking to KNO, said that this year due to hot weather in spring, cherry ripened a month early and produce was ready when there was bulk produce of cherry in Himachal Pradesh.
“Everything depends on supply and demand but cherry from both Himachal and Kashmir reached the market at the same time, so there was very less demand and rates are around 60 to 70 percent lower than last year,” he said.
Moreover, hailstorms, rains and windstorms during evening times every day and cherries coming from Italy and other countries are lowering the demand thereby affecting farmers, he said.
“We have good consumption of cherry this year in the Valley due to good tourism flow but it isn’t helping farmers in increasing the rates of cherry,” he added.