Kashmir farmers lost Rs 7000 crore due to blockades: AIKSCC

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 16, 2019 Published on November 16, 2019

A delegation of the farmers’ organisations that visited Kashmir recently has estimated a loss of about Rs 7000 crore to the apple, pear and saffron farmers in the valley due to the ongoing blockade. They have demanded the Centre to assess the real losses and compensate the farmers immediately.

Leaders of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), an umbrella body of about 250 farmers’ outfits, said here on Saturday that horticulture suffered a “a double thrashing” in this season—due to the blockades and due to untimely snowfall.

“The losses could be more than Rs 7000 crore. Crops like pear and grapes which were harvested in August were stranded due to complete shutdown. The loss is near total. Apple harvesting was also delayed as farmers could not pick it from orchards,” said All India Kisan Sabha’s treasurer P Krishnaprasad, who was also a member in the delegation.

Convenor of AIKSCC VM Singh said the loss is 70 per cent of the total production in these produces and it will have an impact of the livelihood of the people in valley in the years to come. “Farmers who met us have expressed their concerns that if not assisted by the authorities, peasant suicides may happen in the valley too due to economic hardship,” Singh said.

A team of farmers from Kashmir will come to Delhi to participate in a protest organised by the AIKSCC. The AIKSCC demanded that the Centre should declare the crisis of apple farmers as a natural calamity eligible for the assistance of NDRF. It urged the Centre to conduct comprehensive field surveys to assess the actual loss. It asked also for loan waivers and long term interest free loans to all fruit growers.

“Once harvesting began, non availability of telephones for first 60 days and non access to internet even now meant that the communication between apple growers, transporters and traders was snapped, causing disruption in the demand-supply chain,” the leaders said.

They said the NAFED’s procurement failed miserably. “Lack of experience and infrastructure meant that NAFED has procured 0.01 per cent the estimated produce (1.36 lakh boxes out of more than 11 crore boxes). The farmers have complaints that NAFED procurement had disruptive effect since it has sold apples in the sale market at lower prices that brought down the wholesale apple prices in the procurement market,” the leaders claimed. They added that sheep breeders also suffered badly due to the turmoil in the State.

Published on November 16, 2019
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