Continuous rainfall may cause fruit drop, say experts

SRINAGAR: Heavy rainfall in Kashmir Valley threatens to affect the ready-to-harvest standing horticulture crops, which the inclement weather early this year had already delayed.
The downpour occurs at a time when many fruits have been harvested while many varieties of apple like Royal Delicious are ready for harvest.
Even as there are no reports of any damage to crops yet, experts fear that continuous rainfall might cause “fruit drop” in the orchards.
“Heavy rainfall can cause water stagnation in the orchards, leading to fruit drop,” Manzoor Ahmad, an expert from the Horticulture Department, told Kashmir Reader Wednesday.
“The ready-to-harvest fruits get heavier due to water and eventually drop from the trees. Also, the fruit-laden tress can bend and fall due to the rains,” he said.
Ruling out possibilities of spread of disease in the fruits, Ahmad said the “fruit drop, if not prevented, can be costly”.
The Valley has witnessed unusual weather so far this year.
A harsh winter early on was followed by a snow storm in the middle of March, the first month of spring in this part of the world. Afterwards, the rainfall and cold maintained a tight grip over the Valley until the start of summer. The summer too was unusually hot and dry; the season passed without much rain.
The abnormal weather caused a delay in the ripening of most fruits. Besides, it caused scab and mineral deficiency in apple—one of the most prized horticulture crop of the Valley—to a less threatening extent.
Now, to avoid damage to the crops due to rains, the joint advisory committee of the Horticulture Department and SK University of Agriculture Science and Technology (SKUAST-K) is meeting Thursday to review the situation.
“We will discuss the situation and issue necessary instructions for the farmers. The farmers will have to drain out the water accumulating in the orchards, and provide artificial support to the fruit-laden trees,” Ahmad said.
According to the fruit growers, however, the water has already started to accumulate in the fields, increasing the possibilities of fruit drop.
“Due to rain, the growers aren’t able to harvest the fruits. Now that water is starting to accumulate in the fields, we fear that the fruits may get heavy and drop,” the President of the Fruits Growers and Dealers Association from north Kashmir, Fayaz Ahmad Malik, told Kashmir Reader.