Lack of snow affecting apple crop in Himachal Pradesh

January 18th, 2009 - 4:11 pm ICT by ANI  

Shimla (Himachal Pradesh), Jan.18 (ANI): The lack of rain and snow has spelled doom for apple growers in Himachal Pradesh.
Apple growers in the region are worried that their crop will be severely hit unless the weather gods oblige them with snow or rainfall.
“Lack of snowfall can create problem for apple growers, there was no snowfall in the month of December and January. If snow fall will get more delayed, then farmers will be facing lot of problems, because 1700 hours of chilling conditions that is a prerequisite for the growth of apple wont be fulfilled,” said Lekh Raj, a horticulture professional.
The dry spell has also affected Rabi (winter) crop sowing. Normally the sowing of wheat and other crops is complete by late December.
Waiting for rainfall however, the farmers have not yet sown the wheat seeds. Any further delay will delay the harvest of the crop.
“This time snowfall is delayed. We are facing a lot of problems due to scarcity of snowfall. If snow had fallen on time problem of pests and many other problems could have been resolved very easily,” said Prem, an apple grower.
Inadequate snow fall during winter also leads to water scarcity during summer in the hills, where most sources of water are snow fed.
Agriculture is the mainstay of India’’s economy with more than half the population relying on the sector for livelihood. Irregular rainfall, frost, pest infestation, floods cause crops damage worth thousands of rupees every year.(ANI)
Apple is the main fruit crop of Himachal Pradesh and is being grown in nine out of 12 districts. Apple accounts for about 40 percent of the total area under all fruit crop cultivation.
More than 200,000 families in the state are engaged in apple cultivation and 90% of them are small and marginal farmers with an average holding of less than 0.6 hectares.
Besides apples, other fruits like pears, peaches, cherries and plums are the major commercial crops of Himachal Pradesh. (ANI)

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