Premature fruit fall has hit apple orchardists from different areas of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district affecting their annual turnover.
Orchardists from various villages of Pulwama told ‘Kashmir Vision’ that premature fall of apples is affecting their annual yield.
Mohammad Anwar Malik is an orchardist from Wasoora, a village around 10 kilometers from district headquarters, growing delicious varieties of apple trees on four kanals of land.
Harvesting for delicious variety of apple begins from 25th of September. “The fruit starting falling prematurely from July of this year,” Malik said, adding that around 10 percent crop suffered premature fall.
He said that they were expecting a yield of around 400 boxes but around 40 boxes fell prematurely affecting his annual turnover.
He said that the disease emerged few years ago. “The fruits develop some internal rots which hasten rottening in them and subsequently they fall down,” he said.
Malik said the premature fall of unripe fruit forced them to spray pesticides to prevent the fruit fall.
Bashir Ahmad Malik, another orchardist growing delicious variety of apple on 3 kanals of land, said that premature fruit fall has severely affected his orchard.
“We were expecting a yield of around 125 boxes,” he said, adding that around 100 boxes suffered prematurely fall.
He said that he was badly hit by the fall of unripe apple. “I invested around rupees 14000 on pesticides and fertilizers. I am expecting to earn rupees 5000 on the yield which means there is loss of rupees 9000 excluding labour,” he said.
He said on previous year his orchard was hit with internal rots but this year he used different fertilizers which prevent the disease from occurring but premature fall impacted the yield.
Various pesticide dealers have been exploiting the plight of orchardists by advising them to spray various pesticides to stop the premature fruit fall.
Chief Horticulture Officer Pulwama, R.K Kotwal said that it not advisable to spray any pesticide for this reason at this time.
“From some verities the harvest season has already started and for other it will begin within 15 days, my advice to orchardists is not to use this pesticide at this time,” he said.
He said that stress caused by water scarcity and lack of cross pollination agents were the two main reasons for premature apple fall.
The authorities advised orchardists to plant around 33 percent varieties of cross pollinating trees to avoid formation of false fruits, which fall ahead of harvest season.
The experts also said orchards be supplied with two sprays of boron- one at the time when blooms turn pink and other when the petals fall, to prevent premature fruit fall. They also said that pesticides currently in vogue to prevent fruit fall were not recommended by the department.