As the apple harvesting season has arrived in Kashmir, much of the fruit has been affected by the scab disease. The produce has also declined as compared to past years due to many trees having been damaged by early and heavy snowfall in November 2019.
Orchardists say that there has been a huge decline in production as the untimely snowfall in November reduced the number of branches on trees. Grower Shamim Ahmad Bhat said most of his apple trees were damaged due to the November snowfall. Bhat said that given the condition and reduced canopy of trees, the production will remain affected for many more years.
Besides the decline in production, a large quantity of apple has been affected by a fungal infection called scab. This disease has affected the apple crop in all parts of Kashmir. Apple growers say that in most orchards, more than 30 percent of the crop is affected with scab.
Apple grower Farooq Ahmad said that 80 percent of his crop has been damaged by scab and hailstorms in summer this year.
Director of Horticulture Aijaz Bhat said that fungal infections are routine and the department did conduct all necessary market checks and tests of fungicides. “Only those who don’t take care of their orchards are complaining of substandard fungicides,” he said, adding that market rates of apple are much better this year.