Junaid Nabi Bazaz
SRINAGAR: Incessant rains and snow being witnessed since late February could affect the horticulture and agriculture production in Kashmir Valley this year, say experts.
Dr Sheikh Muhammad Sultan, horticulture expert from Central Institute of Temperate Horticulture Srinagar, told Kashmir Reader on Tuesday that rains and snow witnessed during the recent weeks has hit flowering in almond and apricot trees.
“This year the flowers began blossoming in March. If it keeps raining, drop in production is expected,” he said.
“If there are sunny days ahead, some of the damage done so far can be recouped by the plants,” he added.
Abdul Rasheed, an almond grower from central Kashmir’s Budgam district, said the farmers fear damages to their potential produce for second consecutive year.
“We were hoping that the weather would be conducive for a better crop this year, but the rain and snow has dampened our expectations. Already the bloom wasn’t upto the expectations and we were praying for some sunshine for it to get better,” he said.
In the Valley almonds and apricots are grown in Karewas, mostly in Pulwama, Budgam and Khag areas of central and south Kashmir.
The fruits are among the main contributors to the region’s agricultural produce.
As per Dr Sheikh, the drop in temperature can “impede fruit setting” in the trees, which require “better temperature” to bloom.
Besides, the prevailing abnormal weather conditions could also hit the production of apples, he said.
In absence of preventive measures to be taken by the farmers, the production of oilseeds, wheat, and other chief agricultural products of the Valley could also take a hit, according to Dr Sameera Qayoom, who is associated with SK University of Agricultural Science and Technology Kashmir.
“These crops are somewhat safe as compared to almonds and apricots, but only if the farmers take precautions like preventing water logging of the fields. These preventive measures will certainly help in better production,” she said.