Climate Change: Missing snowfall threatens Himachal’s Rs 3,500-crore apple sector

SHIMLA-   Higher than normal temperatures across north India is bad news for farmers already hit by adverse weather for three consecutive seasons. If the warm winter conditions continue, a range of rabi (winter) crops as well as fruits such as apples could be impacted, say experts.

The past two kharif (summer) seasons were hit by deficit monsoon rains while heavy unseasonal rains and hailstorms affected the intervening rabi crop over large regions of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Experts said high winter temperatures could impact tillering (side growth) of wheat and could lower yields if the temperatures continue to remain above normal. High temperatures in March could affect grain formation in wheat, which would then be in the milking stage. Wheat has been grown this year in over 35 lakh hectares in Punjab and about 24 lakh hectares in Haryana. The two states are the biggest contributors of the grain to the national stock.

High temperatures and missing snowfall is also posing a threat to Himachal Pradesh’s Rs 3,500-crore apple sector. Experts said rain and snow at this time of the year is crucial as it provides the chilling hours required for good production of apples in the coming season.

In Uttar Pradesh, the weather is causing concern not only for wheat but also the gram crop. If the weather remains warm and dry in the second half of January, it will hit flowering and ripening of wheat and gram

said Sudhir Panwar, president Kisan Jagriti Manch and member of UP State Planning Commission.

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