Shimla: A Devastating hail storm in upper parts of Himachal on April 1 has destroyed about 50 to 70% of the flowering in apple belt of Kotkhai, Jubbal, Rohru, Chopal, Rampur and adjoining areas of Kullu
district, dashing horticulturists’ hope of harvesting a good apple crop this year.
A bumper apple crop was expected this time, but the hailstorm that lasted for more then an hour and has damaged even leaves of apple trees and trampled our hopes, said Ram Lal, an apple grower from
The chill, rains and drizzles have driven away the honeybees and other useful insects, which are essential for pollination, from the blooming or half bloom orchards, rued Sant Ram and Chaman Lal, horticulturists from Churag subdivision of Karsog. The temperatures have fallen below 10 degree C since past two days.
Dr. Y.R.Sharma, a horticulture expert explained the ideal condition for a good crop is a temperature around 20 degree C and a clear sky during this time of the year. The apple bloom comes in three stages. If the first stage draws a blank, there is a chance that the second or the third stage can lead to a good fruit set.
The chilly weather in the area where trees are in full bloom has marred the chances of a good crop. “The state government should immediately provide financial relief to the affected fruit growers and should send expert teams to assess the losses”, said Himachal Pradesh Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association general secretary Dr. S.P. Katyal.
Horticulture Minister has Narinder Bragta said among other measures, the state government was encouraging farmers and horticulturists to adopt defense through wider usage of green house and low plastic tunnels. “One anti-hail gun has the capacity to protect about 80 or 90 hectare area and the gun is environment friendly and does not invoke chemical reaction.”