Dry spell could hit agriculture, horticulture sectors

Dry spell could hit agriculture, horticulture sectors

Srinagar: The threat of damage to the production in agriculture and horticulture sectors looms large, as the Valley is witnessing the driest winter in the last three decades with mercury plummeting as low as minus 11.2 degrees Celsius.
The prevailing weather conditions are not a good sign and will hit the production of fruits, vegetables and rice during this year, experts told Kashmir Reader Saturday. The crops that are likely to suffer damages due to the ongoing dry weather conditions are apples, apricots, almonds and paddy.
“In January, even the plains used to be covered with snow. However, this time, even the mountains and hills in the upper reaches are naked due to dry weather conditions. The snow-capped mountains are a major source of irrigation to our fields. This year, we fear our fields might not get irrigated,” Bashir Ahmad Dar, a farmer from Sheeri area of Baramulla, told Kashmir Reader.
Dar said that the delay in rains and snowfall will have serious implications on the crops, as the fields won’t get irrigated well.
Director Meteorological Department, Sonam Lotus also said that the dry weather conditions will have negative implications on the agriculture and horticulture produce.
“We are witnessing one of the driest winters in Valley in more than three decades,” Lotus said.
Director Agriculture, Kashmir, Peerzada Mushtaq Ahmad Shah also opined the threat to the crops in case the dry weather conditions persist for some more time.
“It is not a healthy trend. Vegetables and Paddy crop will suffer damages if there is no snowfall or rains soon. How can there be production if the fields are not irrigated,” Shah said.
However, Shah said it was too early to comment about the losses in the agriculture produces. He said he was hopeful that this year, the production will be quite good.
“Even the Rabi crops are in dormant stage. The prime season of crops is in June, July. So, why should we be pessimistic,” he added.
Dr Sameera, an expert in agronomy said that the rising day temperature can cause damages to the crop if it does not rain or snow in the Valley in February.
“The dryness will cause early blooming of orchards. However, we have to wait before jumping to any conclusion,” she said.
Chief horticulture Officer Pulwama Farooq Ahmad Mirza told Kashmir Reader that if the dry weather conditions persist for some time, the almond production might get affected. However, he said other produces like apples, pears and walnuts might not suffer so much.
“When day temperature rises, the snow melts quickly. And it also causes diseases to the plants. It is fatal to roots as well,” he said.
“But the situation is not alarming,” he added.

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