Snow brings cheer to apple growers

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, Jan 8: This season’s timely snowfall – which ended one of the longest dry spells in Kashmir – has brought cheer on the faces of apple growers who were worried over the decline in apple production for last three years due to less snow and rains.
The apple growers said for last 3-4 years, there was no or very less snowfall during Chillai-e-Kalaan – 40-day long harshest period of winter in Valley – which adversely affected the delicacy and overall apple production in Kashmir.
“For last four years, there was no snowfall in the month of December which was affecting the crop. The December snow freezes immediately and remains on the ground for a longer time thereby keeping the land moist. The snow acts like a natural manure and shields the tree from dying. It directly affects the longevity of the tree and the delicacy of the crop,” said Mohammad Amin Bhat, a grower based in South Kashmir.
He further said that the snowfall has provided growers a sigh of relief as it has put an end to five-month long dry weather spell in Kashmir. “We were more worried this year as there were hardly any rains for last five months. All the rivulets which used to irrigate our lands had dried. It was worrying for the whole Valley. But this snowfall has rekindled the hopes of growers,” he added.
All the snow-fed rivulets and streams like Rambi Ara, Romshi, Lar and Vaishav which were rendered dry because of five-month long dry weather spell have been recharged by the snowfall. Over the last five months, Kashmir witnessed the lowest precipitation in last four decades.
According to Metrology Department, in the month of September this year, Kashmir received just 28.6 mm rainfall as compared to 115mm last year. Similarly, 3.6mm rainfall was recorded against 63.2 mm last year. The month of November remained completely dry this year while as 12.9 mm rainfall was recorded last year
Chief Horticulture Officer, Anantnag, Abdul Kabir Malla said the snowfall has recharged the land and has given it a new life. “The snow has ended the longest dry spell in Kashmir. It has recharged the land, increased the water table and will have a good impact on the water reservoirs. If the land is properly irrigated, it directly affects the quality of produce. The plant will be healthy and apples will be juicier and colorful,” he added.