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Posted at: Mar 2, 2016, 1:28 AM; last updated: Mar 2, 2016, 1:28 AM (IST)

Climate change not to hit apple produce: Scientists

Trash TERI study that global warming to reduce fruit production

Kuldeep Chauhan

TribuneNewsService

Shimla, March 1

Scientists and farmers have trashed The Energy and Resources Institute’s (TERI) study that the climatic change will decrease the apple productivity by 4 per cent by 2030. They said the finding was no deep empirical study and weather in Himachal depended much on the western disturbances and apple cultivation had adapted to climate change.

The study that apple production will decrease by 4 per cent cannot be termed a pure empirical study as it works like an NGO and derive conclusion based on certain statistics, said Dr Vijay Thakur, Vice-Chancellor of Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry.

“I have observed that the state has adapted to climate change as it is always guided by western disturbances”, he added.

The good apple crop did not depend much on the chilling hours alone, Dr Thakur said. “There are local factors, including management of orchards and types of apple varieties planted and as such the study is no final word that the apple productivity will decrease”, he added.

Scientists and farmers reveal that there are orchardists who, despite the global warming threat, plan varieties best suited to the system. They are achieving higher productivity to the tune of 20- 35 tonne per hectare even in adverse climatic condition, managing their farms by irrigation, new varieties and selective spray schedule and fertilisers, Dr Thakur added.

He agrees with the TERI’s finding that the percentage net cultivated area to the total geographical area in the state has decreased due to climate change and wild weather over the years from 19.07 per cent in 1972-73 to 11.81 per cent in 2009-10.

Agriculture has become non-viable due to global warming and wildlife attack forcing a large section of farmers to leave the profession. “The apple is grown in higher reaches of Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti registering a shift from lower areas, where farmers are planting new low-chilling varieties”, said Rakesh Singha, an apple grower.

Singha said farmers need more empirical study to ascertain the facts and address the issue rather than deriving conclusion on raw data. “Major problem the farmers are facing is the presence of virus in the soil, which is impeding the growth of plants, he added.

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