Hailstorm damages fruit crops in Himachal Pradesh

April 13th, 2008 - 7:55 pm ICT by admin  

Sangla Valley (Himachal Pradesh), Apr 13 (ANI): The unexpected twist in the weather has added onto the orchard owners’ woes as they are facing heavy losses due to crop damage.
Heavy rains, hailstorm and snowfall in upper reaches of the Himalayas, has destroyed the flowers that were beginning to bloom on the trees.
Apple, apricot, almonds trees that had started flowering are now left bereft as the blooms lie scattered on the ground, destroyed by hail storms and rains.
The orchards spread around the Sangla Valley, in Kinnaur District have all registered a loss of around 20 per cent of its yield.
“In comparison to last years’ normal crop, the yield of the crop we were expecting this year, has been affected around 20-25 per cent due to these weather changes,” said Hemraj Sharma, Horticulture Expert Department of Horticulture.
Experts point out that there is a change in the rainfall distribution pattern this year. Northern states of India have been experiencing rainfall accompanied with thunderstorms.
In the middle reaches of the region, where flowering had just started, the orchard owners are lamenting losses of around 30 per cent of their yield this time.
The frost and hail has affected the flowering very badly. The fruit growers are an unhappy lot.
“The unexpected change in weather due to sudden rainfall and even snow in some parts has hampered the flowering of our trees. All the flowers are destroyed now and we will have to face around 30 per cent of losses this time,” said Lekh Raj, an apple orchard owner.
The sudden change in weather is bound to affect the fruit yield of the State, famous for its apples.
Himachal Pradesh has around 19.7 million hectares of area under fruit cultivation, out of which apple accounts around 48 per cent of the entire cultivation.
Himachal produces an average of 5.5 metric tonnes of apples every year, an important cash crop of the State, but the unpredictable weather has cast its shadow over the produce this year and the yield is expected to dwindle majorly due to crop damage. (ANI)

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