Freak snowstorms and droughts are wreaking havoc on farms across Jammu and Kashmir. In October 2021, an unexpected snowfall in India-administered Kashmir destroyed apple orchards, resulting in the loss of 40 percent of ready-to-pick fruit in the region. For the third year in a row, apple growers have lost half of their crops owing to early snowfall, and many are rightly concerned about the future of the region's orchards.
The apple business accounts for about a third of the local economy - Rs50 billion ($660,000) - and apple farming supports thousands of families in the area. While the government has yet to assert the damages suffered by the apple sector this year, the harvest losses in the previous two seasons have been significant. These unprecedented weather events were declared ‘natural calamities' by the local authorities.
Sonam Loutus, director of Meteorological Kashmir, stated that climate change is as much a reality in Jammu and Kashmir as it is in other parts of the world. His organization is now trying to assist farmers with accurate weather updates.
In an attempt to deal with the crisis, the Indian government introduced high-density apple trees that bear fruit early and can endure the harsh weather. Over the past few years, the government has planted these trees on roughly 625 acres of land. Not only did the trees yield fruit before the early snowfall, but the produce has also been of good quality.
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