Srinagar, Feb 2: The season’s first snowfall has brought cheers to the faces of thousands of fruit growers and farmers in Kashmir who now expect promising crop production this year.
Kashmir Valley received the first heavy snowfall on Thursday after a prolonged dry weather, which lifted the spirit of those associated with horticulture and agriculture.
Experts said that continuous dry spells with no rain and snow this winter had increased the worries of fruit growers and farmers.
They said the prolonged dry spell leads to a lack of soil moisture which can badly impact both the quality and yield of fruits, including apples, in the next season.
Ali Mohammad, a fruit trader and expert, said this year January witnessed good temperatures and if the same had continued, there could have been sprouting of buds and flowers very early. “Now the temperature has dropped with the arrival of snow, it will help in better pollination along with fruit set and production,” he said.
Ali said most orchards are rain threads; however, due to prolonged dryness, there would have been no water available for irrigating orchards. Now, there won’t be such issues, he said, adding that the dry spell could have also led to pest attacks as lack of moisture and dryness make the fruit trees vulnerable.
Mohammad Ashraf a farmer from Pulwama said that snowfall in winter has a direct connection with the availability of water for irrigation purposes for paddy plantation.
Dr Suhaib A. Bandh, Assistant Professor, Environmental Science at S P College, Srinagar, said prolonged dry weather significantly impacts orchards and fruit crops, posing substantial challenges to the region’s agricultural productivity.
The extended dry spells disrupt the natural irrigation patterns essential for fruit cultivation, which leads to diminished water availability for crops, he said, adding that this scarcity hampers the growth and development of fruit trees, reducing their yield and quality.
The dry spell had also raised concerns for mustard crops, with farmers reporting deficiency symptoms due to insufficient rainfall or snowfall.