Kullu: Unusually heavy spring rains have dampened the prospects for fruit crops across much of the northern hilly states and orchard owners in the valley here are worried that sudden and unexpected weather changes are causing on fruiting trees at the delicate stage of blossom time. Heavy rains at bloom time are a sure to immensely damage fruit production for the year say the orchard owners.
Rapidly changing weather conditions that had begun to warm up a fortnight ago but temperature have dipped over the past week as widespread rains continue to lash the hills, giving sleepless nights to farmers and orchardists in Kullu valley. The rainy weather is posing a threat for production of good crops, especially the crops of peach, pear, apricot and plums.
Sanjay Thwas , an orchardist from upper Kullu valley expressed his concerns about the vagaries of weather, “at such a crucial time, a cold and rainy weather can mar our hopes for attaining a good fruit crop. Continuous torrential rains are definitely going to harm the production of most stone fruit crops. All orchard owners are hoping for a good weather turnaround so as to improve fruit crop prospects.”
Agriculture and horticulture happens to be the mainstay for livelihood in rural Kullu lands. A bad crop is bound damage the farm economy.
Another orchardist from Kullu valley Jatin Kharwal is also unhappy with the prevailing weather conditions. “Stormy weather that is frequently lashing hailstorms has left us a depressed lot. All hard work to nurture orchards through the winter is going waste as prospects of a good crop are receding with each passing day,” he said. Should the crops fail, many of us are in for hard days ahead, he added.
When contacted by Hillpost, BC Rana , a deputy director with the state horticulture department said, “stormy and rainy weather conditions at this time is really harmful for fruit crops, more so for stone fruit crops at this time of the year.”
Hailstorms can be devastating for fruit trees and orchard owners need to bring their plants under cover of good anti-hail nets, said Rana.
He said that there is a government scheme for providing anti-hail nets for apple trees but there was no such scheme for stone fruit crops like almonds, apricots, cherries and plums. Orchards owners on their own should try and give anti-hail protection to stone fruit trees.