Kashmir fears sharp decline in almond production

Inclement April weather, intermittent rains played spoilsport

Srinagar: Inclement weather and intermittent rains Kashmir Valley received last month have badly affected the almond crop in Kashmir raising concerns about reduction in its production. Farmers from various areas of the Kashmir Valley complained that they feared sharp decline in the almond production given the massive scale of loss the almond crop had suffered due to intermittent rains. Pertinently, officials last month had confirm massive loss to the almond crop due to continued rains. Officials said that during 2013-14, Valley recorded almond production of 9558 MT, “but this year as per the estimates the production won’t go beyond 4500 MT.” Muhammad Ismail, an orchard owner from Pulwama said: “Rains have wreaked havoc with my almond orchards. I fear sharp decline in the production.” “I had high expectations that by selling this year’s produce I will repay loans and other debts, but now I feel nature’s wrath has spoiled my plans,” he said. Shabir Ahmad, a grower from Central Kashmir also feared huge losses suggesting that the state government needed to provide relief to the affected orchard owners. Director Horticulture, Sonam Narboo confirmed that the almond crop has suffered heavy damage due to inclement weather this year and production could be less by 50 per cent. “We had high expectation that this year the almond production will be good, but untimely rains damaged the almond flower blossoms,” he said.Narboo said that rains washed away the blossoms from the trees affecting the development of the fruit. He said team of Horticulture department will assess the losses and submit the report to higher authorities for further necessary action. President, Parimpora Fruit Mandi Bashir Ahmad said that almonds are mostly consumed in the Valley as the demand of this dry fruit is good in the summer capital. “But apart from local consumption we also export almonds to states like Delhi, Mumbai and is even traded via LoC route,” he said. Pertinently, Kashmir almonds are known for their quality superiority and taste and are very popular with the consumers across the globe. Almond trees with flower blossoms give present an enchanting sight during spring in Kashmir.