Kashmir- Almond Production Dips Rapidly, People Prefer Growing Apples

The production of almonds is decreasing at an alarming rate as large number of people prefer to grow apples over almonds.

The farmers are every year converting more and more land into apple orchards. In many areas farmers are cutting almond trees to start apple cultivation.

Hundreds of canals of land have been cleared off from almond tress in Renzipora, Koil, Chandgam, Payar, Lajoora, Wasoora,Yader, Malangpora areas of Pulwama.

A local from Chandgam area speaking to The Kashmiriyat said that only 03 to 05 percent of land is under almond cultivation and the rest has been converted into apple orchards

In coming year there will be no traces of almond trees as every year almond tress are cleared from hundreds of canals of land and converted into apple orchards, he said.

Reyaz Ahmad Pall, a social activist from wasoora area while speaking to The Kashmiriyat said that our karewas are suitable for almond cultivation but farmers are turning to Apple cultivation as it gets good price in market.

It was duty of horticulture department to show up and ask people how to increase almond production but no technical guidance is given to farmers, he said.

Like every year this year also farmers have been using JCB dozers to uproot almond trees because almonds cultivation has become very less productive and beneficial to them, he added.

In tral area of the district the areas which were known for the production of quality almonds are also turning up to Apple production.

In main tral, Shaldraman, Kahlil, chaan kitar, Paribal and others areas farmers have cleared whole almond trees and have started apple trees.

A local from tral area said that all marketing, grading and packing facilities have been developed by government for Apple trees but no focus is being provided to dry fruits which lured farmers to turn to Apple cultivation.

As per official figures the land under almond orchards was 16,775 hectares in year 2001-02 while as it was only 6, 973 hectares in 2014-15.

From 6973 hectares in year 2014-15, it has reduced to only 3630 hectares in year 2017-18 which shows at which speed land under almond trees is reducing.

An official in horticulture department said that foreign almond in the market has downed the value of local almond due to which farmers are choosing other fruits.

Diseases have also affected the almond production as department failed to control the disease properly, he said while adding that if the trend of cutting almond trees continues within 4 to 5 years south kashmir will be without a single almond tree.

Another officer of horticulture department said that it is comparative high price and market demand of apples which turns people to shun the almonds.

We can’t stop any body from clearing almond trees and from starting apple cultivation as there is no government order in this regard, he said.

The only to prevent more cutting of almond trees is to ban cutting of almond tree as it is for walnut tree and to check the diseases properly, he said.