Hailstorm ravages crops in B’la, farmers stare at uncertain future
Post by Noor Mohi-ud-din on Friday, May 26, 2023
Baramulla, May 25: Hailstorm wreaked havoc on several villages in the Baramulla district of north Kashmir, causing extensive damage to horticulture and agriculture crops on Thursday afternoon.
Local residents from various areas of the district reported heavy destruction of crops, early fruits and vegetables due to the hailstorm.
The entire Rafiabad belt, including villages such as Ladua Ladoora, Rohama, Nadihal, Chakloo, Janzbazpora and nearby areas, experienced an intense hailstorm, resulting in significant crop damages.
Similarly, in the Kreeri, Wagoora, Nowpora and Kandi belt, a heavy hailstorm lasting for 15 minutes covered the ground with an inch deep layer of hail, tearing down standing fruit and agriculture crops.
The most severely affected villages include Ladu Ladoora, Hadipora, Chakloo, Janzbazpora in Rafiabad, Kreeri, Wagoora and Nowpora areas in the Kandi belt, along with neighboring villages.
Fruit growers reported that the hailstones were exceptionally large, completely destroying the standing crops especially cherry, pears and peach.
The orchardists told Rising Kashmir that the hailstones caused extensive damage to developing apple fruit, peach, cherry and pears on trees and completely ruined the crops.
Raashid Maqbool, a resident of Wagoora, expressed to Rising Kashmir that this hailstorm had nearly torn apart the fruit trees and devastated the foliage.
"The cherry, pear and peach crop suffered the maximum damage. The torn leaves beneath each tree painted a horrific scene after the hailstorm," he added.
The growers further revealed that the Kashmir fruit sector has been grappling with a significant crisis over the past few years, as a substantial portion of fruits has been affected by a severe early scab infection.
Bilal Ahmad, speaking on behalf of the growers, emphasized that while they were already combating disease infestations in the crop, weather unpredictability in the form of winds and hail dashed any hopes of a profitable harvest.
The orchardists called for swift assessment of losses and prompt compensation for those dependent on the sector.
Raja Sajad Khan, a local resident of Ladua Ladoora, described the hailstones as being so heavy that they shattered window panes, created holes in plastic chairs and tables, and even penetrated the tin roofs of houses in the Rafiabad village.
"If the hailstones could do this to inanimate objects, just imagine the impact on fruits and vegetables. It was nothing short of a catastrophe. District administration must step in and compensate the locals here," he added.
A horticulture official in Baramulla, informed Rising Kashmir that they have mobilized field staff to provide technical assistance to orchardists and assess the extent of losses.
"We will submit a report to the higher authorities to determine if the damage qualifies for relief or compensation," he said while emphasizing the primary concern of protecting the fruit from infections resulting from the hail damage.