India: As temperatures rise, farmers turn to pomegranates and vegetables

As changing climate is affecting apple production in Himachal Pradesh, the local Indian apple farmers are taking to the cultivation of vegetables and ‘low chill’ fruits like pomegranate and kiwi, according to The Hindu.

Farmers on the hilly terrains of the Kullu, Shimla and Mandi districts are steadily exploring other options, particularly at low and mid altitudes (1200-1800 metres). Recently they have been planting vegetable crops as well as low chill varieties at lower elevations (1000-1200 meters). Farmers are also taking to protected cultivation of vegetables and flowers in a big way.

Farmers in Kullu valley are shifting to pomegranate, kiwi and vegetables such as tomatoes, peas, cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli.

As the region is experiencing warmer winters and erratic snowfall, the apple growing belt is shifting to higher altitudes. Professor Bhardwaj of the YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry: “Abnormal climatic factors during winter affect the flowering and fruit development stages and have lowered the apple productivity of the state.” There was a yearly drop at the rate of 0.183 tonnes per hectare during the period from 2005 to 2014.

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