Friday, March 16, 2007

India: Almonds fall to snowfall
Heavy Snowfall has destroyed the almond crops and other fruit bearing trees in the Valley causing loss to the growers.“The late snowfall has destroyed the almond crop in the valley particularly in the lower belt of district Pulwama and upper areas of Pampore, where the crop is grown profusely,” Chairman All Valley Fruit Growers Association Mir Muhammad Amin told Greater Kashmir.He said the almond trees were in full bloom in these areas but now most of the crop has got destroyed. “Koel, Nui, Wader, and Zadoora areas of the Pulwama also known as the Badam Wari and famous for soft and hard shelled varieties of the almond have suffered most,” Amin said Experts believe that more damage to the crop was caused by the chilling wave and sudden drop in the temperature.“The sharp decline in the temperature injured the flowering and sprouting buds which resulted in the drop of the bloom,” experts said.They said due to long dry winter season and increase in temperature, the almond trees witnessed an early bloom and fruit growers were expecting good produce this season but now their hopes are dashed and crops ruined. They said more than 60 percent of the expected crop got destroyed due to the heavy snowfall. “Now the remaining crop will be prone to the diseases and low in quality as well as quantity.”Almond Industry, experts said is a major source of revenue in different districts of Kashmir and yields crore of rupees every year. “Almond industry has always been an important sector of fruit industry in Kashmir but this year the snowfall has ruined the expectations of growers and the turn over will be low,” they said.Experts said besides almonds, apricots, cherry and peach crop has also been affected though to less extent.“Although there wouldn’t be huge damage to these crops but the drop in the temperature and chilling wave would have left their effect on the sprouting buds of these fruit bearing trees.” In the hilly areas of central Kashmir district of Budgam, the snow has caused minor to heavy damage to different fruit bearing trees. The almond crop in Wadri, Nagam, and Charar-I-Sharief has suffered the brunt of late snowfall. “Most of the flowering and sprouting buds of the almond trees in these areas have fallen and more than 70 percent of the crop is lost,” said Ghulam Muhammad of Nagam, an almond orchid owner.The heavy snowfall (3-4 feet) in these areas has ruined their dreams of growers of qualitative and quantitative fruit. “First the long dry season for two months of winter was a cause of worry for fruit growers and now the untimely snowfall has dashed our hopes of good crop,” Muhammad said. Lamenting over the damage caused by the snowfall to the almond orchids, the growers were haplessly cutting down the broken branches or erecting the almond trees.“It is all Allah’s will and who knows the best for us might be hidden in the damage,” said Ghulam Rasool while sawing a half-broken almond tree.In the fruit belt areas of Budgam including Zinpanchal, Kanidajan, Tilsora, Pakherpora and other areas which witnessed four to five feet of snow, fruit bearing trees including Apple, Papaya, walnut, and pear were also damaged. “The orchids in these areas wore a worried look with uprooted trees and broken branches,” said Samad-ul-lah of Zinpanchal.He said various chemicals and pesticides, sprayed during last 10 days on fruits for protection against various diseases and better quality of fruit have also gone waste. “Besides damage to orchids, the fruit growers have suffered on economic front as well and would now require to do re-spraying to protect the crop from diseases,” Samad said.According to the reports from Doda, untimely snowfall and in various areas hail storm have caused massive destruction of just bloomed fruits by way of either uprooting the whole trees or bruising the delicate sprouts and flowers which were on their brim for the last two weeks. The reports said that the fruit trees especially Plums, Cheeries, Almond and peaches are the worst hit as they had started flowering right from the initiation of the current month adding that the kind of blooming was being considered as the sign of a good cash crop in these varieties of fruits.“Since I am unemployed and my sole source of subsistence rests on the horticulture practices as I have a good chunk of land converted recently in to a garden with a view that it would generate a good deal of income, but as ill luck would have it, this year the brimfully bloomed fruits of almonds and peaches have got destroyed with the untimely snow fall,” said Muhammad Ajaz Rangraz-resident of Mohalla Sarafa Bhadarwah.

No comments: