It is likely that severe winter conditions in northwestern India will increase apple production this season, ending years of recession.
Apple producers in Shimla, the center of apple cultivation in Himachal Pradesh, are seeing a favorable climate. The precipitation in the main apple growing districts of Shimla, Kullu, Mandi, and Kinnaur has been almost twice the average of the last 10 years, mainly because of the snowfall.
"There were more than a dozen light and moderate snowfalls in January and February," said Manmohan Singh, the director of the Shimla meteorological center.
The humid climate came after one of the driest winters in 2017-18. A yellow alarm that forecasts heavy snowfall and rain has been raised for the next two days in the hills. Apple crops require a long period of cold from December to February. Yield have dwindled for almost 10 years due to the erratic weather conditions in Himachal Pradesh.
"Even though the snowfall came late, it will produce a bountiful harvest this season," said Viday Sagar, the deputy director of the state horticultural department. December's snowfall is the most beneficial for apple crops, but a snowfall in mid-January will also help increase production, he said. An increased local production this year may lead to a decrease in apple imports from Chile, the United States, and New Zealand next year.
"Even though apple production was above normal in Jammu and Kashmir, its quality was affected by the inclement weather and, therefore, its availability will be affected in the summer months," stated a Delhibased trader.
Source: Simfruit with information from IndiaTimes