Weather casts cloud over apple production in Shopian
Growers pin hope on ‘good market’
Srinagar, May 29: The moment the sun hides behind the curtain of clouds, darkness descends upon the Kumar house. Owners of a sprawling apple orchard in south Kashmir’s Shopian district, the Kumars have endured the vagaries of the weather the hard way.
The apple production in their blooming orchard has dropped 13 per cent due to the inclement weather conditions during last two years. And this year too, the unusual dip in the average temperatures and the continual rainfall during the blossoming season of the apple trees have diminished chances of a bumper crop.
“Our produce came down from 1450 boxes a season to 200 boxes in the last two years. This year we will be lucky to have even that much of production,” Kumars say.
The low temperature has stemmed the growth of the burgeoning buds.
Tariq Rather, an apple grower, says a silent prayer as he meanders his way around his orchard. “Appearances can be deceptive,” he says while carefully checking the Golden delicious grafts on the trees. “Look at these buds on the trees. It seems as if everything is normal and the trees are laden with apples. But the moment you take them into your hand you can at once feel the difference. There is no life in them.”
Any tenuous chances of a good produce this year were punctured by the hailstorm that hit the town earlier this month.
The damage done by the storm, according to the apple growers, is “irreparable”.
“Apple buds need a particular temperature to develop properly but for the last couple of months the temperature has remained below average particularly during the flowering season. This has retarded the growth of the buds. And what has further added to our woes is the recent hailstorm. It caused a lot of damage to the blossoms and the buds,” says Ubaid Malik, an orchard owner.
The Fruit Growers and Dealers’ Association of Shopian has kept its fingers crossed. The decline in the crop production does not augur well for them and the only hope in such a situation, according to the association, is a “good market” at the end of the year.
“The weather has hit the production this year. The situation is tense. We hope the market will be good at the end of the year that hopefully will compensate us,” Association President, Mohammad Amin says.
Agricultural experts say the continual rainfall increases the risk of fungal and bacteria in both the root and the collar zone of the plants. Excessive water, according to the experts, causes diseases like root rot and collar rot in them.
The cold temperature, experts say, slows down the physiological process of growth and development in the plants.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 29 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 29 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 30 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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