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Dry spell worries Mandi, Kullu farmers & apple orchardists

Dry spell worries Mandi, Kullu farmers & apple orchardists

Pruning work is on in apple orchards of Kullu district these days.



Tribune News Service

Dipender Manta

Mandi, December 22

Farmers and apple orchardists are worried because of dry spell of weather in Mandi and Kullu districts. They fear that the dry spell may affect the health of apple plants as well as rabi crops in both districts.

Apple orchards need long chilling hours and moisture for survival and better production. Similarly, rabi crops also need moisture for growth. In Mandi and Kullu districts, a huge tract of land is under apple cultivation, which is sole source of livelihood for local people.

Ravinder Singh Sisodia, an apple orchardist in Seraj valley of Mandi district, says, “A dry spell of weather has become a cause for concern because it may affect apple production next year. Apple plants need long chilling hours and moisture for survival. Snowfall is urgently needed for apple crops. We are waiting desperately for snowfall.”

“Due to the dry spell of weather, the farmers of the region are facing inconvenience in sowing the rabi crops like wheat, gram, peas, mustard, etc,” he says.

Dalip Thakur, a farmer of Kullu, says, “We are dependent on seasonal rain to get better crop yield. Kullu district is known for apple production. Early snowfall in November or December is considered good for apple production as it provides required chilling hours and moisture. It is considered white manure for apple orchards.”

In Mandi and Kullu, people are visiting the abodes of deities to seek their divine intervention for early snowfall and rain to end the long dry spell of weather.

Meanwhile, Sanjay Kumar Gupta, Deputy Director, Horticulture Department, Mandi, says if the weather remains dry for the next 10 to 15 days, the horticulture sector in the area will be adversely affected.

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