Hailstorm damages crops in Kashmir, farmers incur losses

Rajouri (Jammu and Kashmir), July 17 : A hailstorm and strong winds, besides heavy rains caused huge damage to crops and vegetable farms in Kashmir, leaving farmers in distress over expected losses. Farmers in Rajouri district in of Jammu and Kashmir were worried as their crops have suffered massive damaged due to the hailstorm. Expressing their sorrow, farmers said that they invested huge amount of money for sowing high yielding vegetable seeds, but the hailstorm destroyed their entire fields.

“I had sown high breed seeds for which we spent 8-9,000. The moment the crops got ready, hailstorm destroyed them. This is my only source of income. I am dependent on it. It’s been two weeks. Nobody from the administration (government) has come here. Therefore, we request them to come and see the damage and government should provide us some support,” said a farmer, Shabbir Hussain. Agriculture officer Rafiq Choudhary said that farmers must avail the benefit of number of schemes introduced by the provincial government for the growers who are faced with such problems due to natural calamity.

“We can’t help it. This destruction has been caused by nature. But it would have been better if they had avail ‘Kisan (farmer) credit card’ scheme and had got their crops insured on time, because then they wouldn’t face this problem,” said Choudhary. The hailstorm also affected fruits in most parts of Kashmir. Farmers have appealed the authorities to compensate the loss. Recently, hailstorm had also damaged paddy crop, vegetable fields and fruit orchards at Rafiabad, Laser, Saripara, Budden Tragpora and Rohama in Baramulla district of the province. Meanwhile, Indian farmers are adversely hit due to scanty rains, which raise concerns of a first drought in five years.