The inclement weather and fluctuating temperature in the state is giving sleepless nights to fruit growers of Himachal. Fruit growers are apprehensive about the crop production as fruit setting process has already been delayed.
The prolonged winter has resulted in temperatures below normal in most of the fruit belts across the state, and more snow and rain predicted in April could lead to dip in mercury, which would be harmful for the apple crop.
Meteorological centre director Manmohan Singh told HT: “Due to the western disturbances winds, bad weather prevailed to continue in the state. In March, the state received 16% rain above normal while the temperature was also below average for the entire month.”
Himalayan Eco Horticulture Society owner Lakhsman Thakur said the plummeting weather has raised worries of growers as it is has delayed the whole process of fruit setting. “In April, fluctuating weather will affect the apple crop, because during pollination temperature should be warm and stable,” he added.
However, horticulture expert SP Bhardwaj said the weather has delayed the process of sprouting. “Duration for flowering is 15 to 20 days and if the weather remained clear for five days with temperature above 15 to 27 degree Celsius, good fruit set is expected.”
BS Thakur, associate director of regional horticultural research & training station said, rain and snow was favourable for apple crop but fluctuating temperatures may hamper the crop.
“Blossoming of flowers will start in April’s first half and later pollination needs above 18 degree of temperature,” he added.
In Himachal, districts including Shimla, Kinnaur, Kullu, and Mandi are involved in apple production besides stone fruits including plum, apricot, almond and cherry.