Recent lockdowns caused by the corona virus have left strawberry growers losing their crops
Ground Report | SRINAGAR: Kashmir Valley has produced very good strawberries this year. But due to restrictions, these farmers are unable to take their produce to market. They are already facing severe restrictions from the Corona epidemic. Most people in many parts of Kashmir earn their livelihood from strawberry production. For the last fifty years, people have been growing strawberries to support themselves and their families.
Strawberry production is widespread in the Ganderbal district along with the whole of Kashmir valley and these days people seem to be quite busy harvesting this crop. However, the people involved in this production are unhappy with the administration.
“Lockdown in the Kashmir Valley has been going on for the last one month, which has made it very difficult for us to get strawberries to the markets,” said a person associated with the strawberry crop.
On the other hand, due to the lockdown, there are very few buyers. Due to which its price has also declined significantly compared to the year 2019. People associated with this business say that ‘if the management pays attention to this, it is not a big deal that this strawberry Jammu. It will reach every district of Kashmir. Because Mughal Road is also open at the moment but I don’t know why the administration is not paying attention to it.
Bashir Ahmed, a farmer from Ganderbal district, famous for strawberry cultivation, said, “Tourists in Kashmir were the major buyers of this fruit. But with a sharp drop in tourist inflow during the lockdown, it is difficult for buyers to come.
Ahmed said, “Tourists were the major buyers of strawberries in Kashmir, but with the increase in the cases of covid there has been a sharp decline in the tourist influx, which has badly affected the strawberry farmers of Kashmir.”
Strawberry has emerged as an important cash crop in Kashmir. Over the years many vegetable farmers have turned to strawberry cultivation. But during the last two years, successive lockdowns in Kashmir have done a huge loss while slashing profits.
Kashmir produces 2,000 to 2,500 metric tonnes of strawberries every year. The cool weather makes it suitable for strawberry cultivation. Harvesting started a month late in May this year due to incessant rains. The fruit spoils quickly after harvesting. Due to its very short shelf life, it has to be sold quickly.
A strawberry farmer Abdul Majeed said, “Many people associated with strawberry farming are now feeling disheartened. “Even after working hard, we are not getting good returns for our produce.”
He said, “the administration has left us with the help of God.” The people associated with Strawberry have appealed that the administration should either compensate us for our losses or allow us to deliver our products to every district of Jammu and Kashmir.