Experts have traced the difficulty in apple cultivation in Himachal Pradesh to change in weather conditions and have advised farmers to grow other horticultural crops like plums, peaches and pomegranates till they find a solution for apple production in the lower areas of Himachal Pradesh.
Many growers had already thought about switching to pomegranate cultivation when the advice from the government came up. The difficulty in growing apples doesn’t lie only in climate-related problems. Growing pomegranates, simply, makes more economic sense.
With climate-induced weather changes affecting the production of Himachal apples, farmers in Banjar are switching to other horticultural crops, as it is no longer viable to grow apples in the lower areas.
Climate change, researchers say, is adversely impacting the production of important agricultural and horticultural crops in Indian Himalayan Region, especially those in the lowlands. For example, an increase in temperature and decrease in winter rainfall and snowfall have reduced the number of chilling hours, leading to a decline in apple production in the region.
A study on horticulture, conducted by Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Program in different administrative blocks of Kullu, has classified the small town of Banjar as the most vulnerable region in Indian Himalayas.
Farmers in the town mostly grow Royal Delicious apples, which require 800 to 1,200 chilling hours. Significant increases in temperature during spring and a moderate increase in temperature during summer and winter seasons have lowered the available chilling hours in the region, and in turn, the productivity of the varieties that require longer chilling hours, says the study.