Monkeys damaging crops in Jammu and Kashmir: Minister

Jammu, April 4 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Agriculture Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir Thursday said monkeys were causing “substantial” damage to crops in the state, especially in the Jammu region, and that there was an urgent need to curb this menace.

He said substantial losses have been reported to fruit crops like mango, guava, ber (Ziziphus mauritiana), grapes, citrus fruits, litchi, sandy pear, peach, plum and apricot.

“Based on a random assessment done in the areas affected in the Jammu division, the estimated damage caused (by monkeys) is worth Rs.4.72 crore,” Mir told the state assembly.

The primates also damage crops of maize, wheat, rice and vegetables in 15,596 hectares of agriculture land in about 250 villages of Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur and Reasi districts, the minister added.

“The annual financial loss on this account has been worked out to the extent of Rs.32.93 crore,” Mir said.

However, according to the minister there is less threat from monkeys to crops in the Kashmir division, except in some pockets of hilly areas near forests.

“To control the monkey menace, the fruit trees the primates prefer need to be planted on the periphery of forests and protected areas so that they remain restricted in such areas and do not damage crops in cultivated land,” Mir said.

He also added that fruit trees such as wild pear, apricot, peach, quince and persimmon should not be allowed to be felled in the forests.

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