Srinagar, Feb 5: A blanket of fresh snow has brought cheers to apple growers in Kashmir, who were reeling under adverse weather conditions over the past few months. The recent snowfall has triggered hopes of a possible bumper crop of apples and other major horticulture produce this season.
Kashmir witnessed an unprecedented dry spell of more than two months, with no precipitation recorded during the Chillai Kalan.
Now there is a glimmer of optimism among fruit growers in Kashmir. The region, having witnessed good snowfall across all districts of Kashmir, is now fostering hopes of a fruitful harvest this year.
Farmers, particularly apple growers, along with other stakeholders, are expressing optimism and anticipating robust apple production, heralding a bountiful season ahead.
President, All Kashmir Fruit Growers Union, Bashir Ahmad Basheer said that recent snowfall has brought joy and hope among farmers
"This year, we are expecting a significant increase in apple production. The recent snowfall has rejuvenated our hopes for a bountiful harvest. It has a crucial role in enhancing soil fertility and ensuring healthy tree growth," he said.
"We are particularly hopeful about more snowfall in the coming weeks, especially in February. This would also contribute to the overall health of the apple orchards," he said.
Bashir said that farmers in Kashmir heavily rely on favourable weather conditions, especially during the winter season, for a successful apple yield. “The recent snowfall has not only delighted the farming community but has also raised expectations for an abundant harvest, “he said.
Fayaz Ahmad Malik, Fruit Growers and Dealers Association Sopore said that the snowfall in February rekindled their hopes to witness good apple production and they expect more rains and snow this month.
"We were upset and almost lost our hopes. The absence of snowfall would have adversely affected our crops. This snowfall was much needed for our orchards. We expect more rainfall and snowfall this month,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Athar Ahmad, a plant entomologist at SKUAST-K said snowfall plays a great role in saving the apple industry in Kashmir.
He said that delayed snowfall and rainfall are due to the changing weather patterns not only in Kashmir but in Northern tropical India.
"This delayed snowfall and rainfall trend has been going on for the last five years. So, people should consider this delayed trend and not lose hope," he said.
Ahmad said that there will be a high temperature as well during the summer season. "There would have been many issues which could have impacted the crops, especially apple production. But now the weather is favourable for fruit production this year," he said.
In the last few years, the import of Iranian apples has been a concern for farmers of Kashmir.