SRINAGAR: The quality of apples produced in Kashmir may decline in the years to come due to changing climate even as the fruit’s production in the Valley may also become difficult, an expert said Monday.
According to the Vice Chancellor (VC) of SK University of Agriculture Science and Technology-K (SKUAST-K), Dr Tej Pratap, the changing climate in the Himalayan region has made cultivation of apples possible on the state’s higher reaches such as Leh—a pattern similar to what has been witnessed in the neighbouring state of Himachal Pradesh.
“But we may get to see that the areas presently under apple cultivation become conducive for other crops. The farmers may have to reschedule their cropping patterns every 15 years, like what is being done at the global level,” Dr Pratap said during a three-day media workshop organised here.
“We may also see the quality of the apple degrading. We have already witnessed changes in apples, including a marked decline in its quality last year,” he added.
A time will come when apples from Leh would be costlier than those produced in Kashmir, he said, adding that “the trend is already being witnessed in Himachal Pradesh”.
Kashmir, he said, has a scope for growing vegetables.
The event, organised by the Centre for Environment Education (CEE) and The Third Pole (TTP) under the Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme (IHCAP), is being held to discuss “the 2014 floods in Jammu and Kashmir, lessons learnt, and way forward”.
It is being held at a time when Kashmir has just been hit by another flood, though of a lower magnititude, caused by excessive snow and rainfall in early spring.
It is the second consecutive year in which the Valley witnessed a delay in the snowfall. And, as per the VC, the pattern may be part of a climatic shift, rather than an isolated event.
“We are witnessing delayed winters. Already, we are noticing a regular delay by about two months, and it is affecting the agriculture,” he said, admitting that the governments are doing less than required to handle the issues thrown up by the climate change.