Shopian: Less snowfall this year may have repercussions on agriculture and horticulture sectors in the coming summer. It may also affect the quality and quantity of crops this year, experts say.
Though Kashmir witnessed untimely snowfall in the month of October, which brought havoc on horticulture sector, and later moderate snowfall was witnessed in January, but according to agriculture experts the amount of snow was not sufficient to provide for good canal water irrigation, both for agriculture and horticulture sectors in Kashmir.
According to official data, there was four percent decline in rainfall during the months of December and January this year compared to last year.
District Shopian last year witnessed six to eight feet of snow at Hirpora station, but this winter the amount of snow was not more than four feet. The upper reaches of the district, where glaciers are melting, also witnessed about 40 percent less snowfall as compared to last year.
This is all the more worrying as despite sufficient snowfall last winter, the hot summer that followed saw many areas struggle with drought-like conditions as it rained very little and canal water for irrigation began to dry out.
A couple of years ago, even the agriculture department issued an advisory to growers in some areas to not plant paddy as the winter’s snowfall had not been sufficient.
Syed Farooq Ahmad Andrabi, a senior agriculture expert and former Director of the Agriculture department in Kashmir, told Kashmir Reader that low snowfall particularly in the months of December and January would have adverse effects on both quantity and quality of crops this year. “Most of the crops in Kashmir are primarily dependent on canal water irrigation and once the snow on glaciers has melted, there will be scarcity of water in summers,” Andrabi said.
He added that there is nothing to panic as good rainfall in the months of April, May and June can maintain the requirement of water. “We can’t ignore the effects of global warming but at the same time there are sufficient glaciers here to provide adequate water in summers,” he said.