Kashmir’s apple growers have started installing the anti-hail net to save apple trees from hailstorms. Anti-hail nets are popular among apple growers in Europe. Made of polymers, the net protects fruits from hailstorms and bird pecking.
Demand for anti-hail nets is picking up since Kashmir has been constantly witnessing hailstorms for the last few years. Anti-hail nets are popular among apple growers in Europe. Made of polymers, the net protects fruits from hailstorms and bird pecking.
Irfan Mir, owner of Infinity Kashmir, a firm that makes anti-hail nets said the demand has gone up by 40 percent in Kashmir. “We introduced anti-hail nets in 2016. In 2017, our firm installed nets at two sites in Pulwama. It started picking up after growers reported zero damage. Anti-hail nets cost between Rs 20,000-35,000 and successfully reduces losses,” Mir was quoted saying.
Ghulam Mohammad Wani, an apple grower from Baramulla harvested a bumper crop. All thanks to the anti-hail net, he successfully saved his trees from the hailstorms. “One of my friends suggested installing an anti-hail net. It did not cost me much. Even many other growers in my vicinity are not covering their trees with anti-hail nets,” he said.
Dr Khalid Mushtaq, Head Division of Fruit Sciences, SKUAST said, “this new system protects the orchards from the extreme climatic conditions and birds”. Anti-hail nets being used to protect the crop from damage caused by hailstorms. Also, it helps in saving crops from birds,” said Mushtaq.
Elaborating on the kinds of netting systems, Mushtaq said, “We can use hail net in the situations like hailstorms and sun damage.” He said that the black hail net is used in the high sunlight exposed areas to reduce the transmittance up to 30 per cent.
On the other hand, the white hail net is for areas with low sunlight allowing comparatively more transmittance. White hail net reduces 10 per cent of transmittance. “These nets ensure that the product is safe from extreme climatic conditions and from birds as well,” he said.
In the last few years, Kashmir has been witnessing hail storms, especially during Spring. Last year growers suffered 40 percent losses in Kulgam and Kupwara districts. Under `PARVAZ’ scheme, the government has offered a 30 percent subsidy on anti-hail nets.