Agri, Horticulture Production Likely To Remain Low This Year In Kashmir

14 April 2014
Greater Kashmir
Mukeet Akmali

Srinagar: Growth in agriculture and horticulture this year in Kashmir is likely to remain low, thanks to intermittent rains that lashed the Valley over past several weeks. According to experts, the Agriculture and Horticulture crops have been 'adversely affected' by the heavy downpour which lashed the Valley during last few weeks. Experts fear that if the rains will continue, the crops may get further damaged which will result in the lower production, thus affecting the income of farmers and orchard owners in Kashmir. Director Agriculture Kashmir, Mushtaq Peerzada told Greater Kashmir that intermittent rains had an adverse affect on the agricultural crops in the Valley. 'Potato crops which are mostly sown in plain areas around Srinagar district are worst affected by the intermittent rains. In some place where potatoes were already sown, heavy rains and water logging of farmlands have damaged crops. While in most of the places like Baramulla, Pulwama delay due to inclement weather in sowing of potato crops will have impact on its production,' Peerzada said adding that Sarson crops have also been damaged. He said that Agriculture Department is hopeful that weather conditions will improve in coming days; otherwise, it could further damage the crop production and affect the exports of vegetables. 'Last year , we had exported 2.50 lakh metric tonne of vegetable to other places ,' he said adding that this year they are hoping that weather will improve and production will be up to the mark. 'Mostly our harvesting period of agriculture is during the month of June and we are hopeful that conditions will remain suitable ensuring good crop,' Peerzada said that inclement weather during last some weeks has become cause of concern for farmers whose farmlands are waterlogged and they are not in position to restart their farming activities. Director, Horticulture Kashmir, Sonam Narboo said that the first casualty of the inclement weather was Almond crops which suffered heavy damage. 'Other horticulture crops like plum, peaches and apricots have also suffered some losses as the downfall in the temperature and continuous downpour has affected their blossoming,' Narboo said. 'While Kashmir's cash crop apple is also likely to get affected if weather does not improve in coming days,' he said. Kashmir produced annually 19 lakh metric ton fruit out of which apple production was 16.7 lakh metric. Senior Scientist of Central Institute of Temperate Horticulture (CITH), Dr KK Srivastava said that crops of Apricot, Peach, plums are worst affected by this continuous rainfall. ' For growth of pollens on these plants require minimum temperature of 15 degree Celsius , however temperature in the Valley during last few days is hovering between 11 to 12 degree Celsius which is a cause of concern for orchardists',' he said. Srivastava adds that prevalent weather conditions in valley have extended dormancy stage of apple crops which will result in delay in its harvest. 'Further growths of pollens on apple crops have been delayed. However if the rains will continue during the blossoming period of flowers on apple crops it could have drastic impact on the overall production of apples in the Kashmir valley as the rains will wash away the blooms,' he said.