More and more fruit trees in India’s Nainital district (state of Uttarakhand) are becoming afflicted with the taphrina fungus. Hail storms earlier this year damaged the fruit trees, but now taphrina is threatening to severely damage the peach and plum production in the mountainous regions of Nainital. Ramgarh, Dhari and Bhimtal blocks of the district are worst affected by this problem.
Peach and plum trees were flowering when Ramgarh, Dhari and Bhimtal experienced hail on March 13 and 14. The hail, rain and fluctuating weather caused about 90 per cent of the flowers to drop.
The government had started a survey to ascertain the damage caused by the hail but the COVID-19 situation cropped up due to which the survey was stopped midway. It should be noted here that the Ramgarh-Mukteshwar fruit belt in Nainital district is known for considerable peach production. Apples, plums, apricots and walnuts are also cultivated in this fruit belt. Due to good snowfall during January-February this year, the farmers were expecting a good yield of fruits. The peaches grown in Talla Ramgarh are famous in India.
Last year, about 26,428 tonnes of peaches were harvested from about 1,824 hectares and 6,294 tonnes of plums were harvested from 586 hectares. There are about 40,000 farmers cultivating fruits in eight blocks including Kotabagh, Ramgarh, Dhari, Okhalkanda and Bhimtal. However, only about 15,000 farmers are insured against weather damage to crop.
An article on dailypioneer.com also mentioned that apart from fruit cultivation, farmers also grow various vegetables in different parts of the district. However the rain and hail experienced on March 13-14 destroyed the peas in various areas. Further, the considerable rain is also expected to affect the potato production in the district.