President of North Kashmir Fruit Growers Association, Fayaz Ahmad Malik, said the growers suffered 60% loss due to hailstorms.
“Cherry crop has witnessed large-scale damage due to the hailstorms. We have assessed the losses of the order of 60% in the valley. The areas which have been badly hit include Ganderbal, Tangmarg, Shopian, Faridabad, and other south Kashmir areas,” he said to the local media The Kashmir Monitor.
Following large-scale damage to the crop, Malik said “compared to the previous years, a limited quantity of cherry is arriving in valley mandis. Due to the huge packaging and shipping costs, the farmers don’t take a risk to ship cherry. We feel that this year very little quantity might be going to outside Kashmir mandis as well,” he said.
There are eight cherry varieties grown in Kashmir: Makhmali, Siya, Mishri, Jaddi, Italy, Dabal, Vishkan, and Stela. Four among the eight varieties -Mishri, Jaddi, Makhmali, and Dabal – have good demand in the market. Mishri is considered sweeter than other varieties. Mishri variety, known for its health benefits, was exported to Dubai last year.
According to official figures, the annual production of the stone fruit is around 12,000 metric tonnes, making Jammu and Kashmir the largest cherry producer in India. Kashmir Valley is known for producing 95% of India’s cherries. Kashmir annually sends around 3,500-4,000 metric tonnes of cherries to other states of India.
Source: The Kashmir Monitor