Bumper Cherry crop likely in Kashmir

June 1st, 2008 - 8:27 pm ICT by admin  

By Parvez Butt
Srinagar, June 1 (ANI): Cherry growers in Kashmir valley are expecting a highly rewarding season in the coming days despite an untimely snowfall in some areas that damaged the cherry fruits to some extent.
The State horticulture department is hopeful of a bumper crop this year. The production of cherry last year was 10,607 metric tonnes and is believed to increase this year.
“If we see according to the orientation, the first crop of cherry comes from the Harwan belt and Israr belt. After that Tanmarg and in the last Shupiyan. Its production continues from May-June till July 15,” said Manzoor Ahmed, the Horticulture Development Officer in Jammu and Kashmir.
Last year, the total production was 10,607metric tonnes. It was grown on an area of 3,106 hectares of land, Ahmed added.
About 25 per cent of the State’s population is directly or indirectly associated with the horticulture sector.
In the last four years, Kashmir has registered a quarter of a million metric tonnes increase in the horticulture production.
The State exports most of its horticulture products to other States of the country and international markets.
Kashmiri cherries are always in high demand and enjoy a virtual monopoly, as the fruits from the State are preferred across the country for their taste and quality.
“The maximum amount of cherries is supplied from Kashmir to other States. Kashmir cherries have a better demand than the cherries from Shimla. They are supplied to Delhi, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Mumbai,” said Shabir Ahmed, a cherry grower.
“We pluck the cherries in May. First, the Avval number or best quality cherry gets ready to be plucked. Then Double cherry, Gol cherry, Makhmali cherry and lastly comes Mishri cherry,” said Mohammed Yusuf, another cherry grower.
Harwan, Dara, Kangan, Nilshad, Tanmarg and Sopiyan are the regions of Kashmir where extensive cherry cultivation is witnessed.
Cherry cultivation is concentrated in Kangan, Nilshad, Tanmarg and Shopian provinces of the State. Experts opine that Kashmir valleys flora and fauna makes the Kashmiri cherry sweeter than the cherry grown in any other part of the country.
Cherry requires a conducive climatic condition for proper blooming and fruition. The temperature should be perfect for better crop. It should have a maximum temperature of about 30- 35-degree Celsius and above 25 degree Celsius Horticulture production of fruits like apples and cherries are the primary economic activity of the Himalayan State.
Sweet cherry was introduced in Jammu and Kashmir from Europe before Indian independence in 1947 while commercial cultivation of sour cherry has been introduced only in recent years.
The horticulture sector is a major contributor to the economy of Jammu and Kashmir. Besides cherries, other fruits such as apples, pears, walnuts and almonds are the major commercial crops of the State.(ANI)

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