Early Spring Retriggers Farming Nightmare in Kashmir

Spring bloom at Badam Wari. KO photo by Abid Bhat

Notably, Jammu and Kashmir has been witnessing unusually high temperatures in the spring for the last few years.

THE signs of climate change and global warming have once again created farming concerns in Kashmir where early blossoming has heralded spring.

The blossoming, experts say, has sprouted a month earlier.

Even if the valley witnessed intermittent rainfall in the month of February and March, but the rising temperature in the number of sunny days has raised alarm bells among the orchardists and environmentalists of the valley.

One could see new buds and early blossoms appearing on a number of trees including almond, peach and Gul-tour—a spring flowering herb—giving the signs of early spring in Kashmir.

These flowers are generally seen in the month of April, said Ghulam Mohammad Najar, an orchardist from North Kashmir’s Sopore.

He said farmers are worried about the early blossom locally known as “fliey” because if it snows, it will hit the production.

“The fliey season starts in ending March and early April,” Najar said. “Even though we can’t witness much blossom, a good number of fruit trees have developed white and pale type flowers.”

Sonam Lotus, Director Meteorological Department (MeT), told Kashmir Observer that February 2023 was warmer than the last few years and the MeT department expects a “hotter March” this year.

“The temperature is of course rising,” Lotus said. “We can attribute it to climate change.”

In February and March, the weatherman said, there have been no major western disturbances.

Abdul Qadoos Beig, Horticulture Officer at Directorate of Horticulture Department, told Kashmir Observer that the early blooming of flowers is definitely a cause of concern for farmers.

“If it rains or snows after the blossom,” Beig said, “the flowers will fall and hit the fruit production.”

The natural process, he said, has started one month earlier this year and it needs to be taken seriously by the farmers and reschedule the percentage of pesticides.

“We can attribute the rise in temperature in spring to the abnormal temperature across the world,” said Dr. Arshid Jahangir, Assistant Professor, Department of Environment Science. “Even the local meteorological conditions can lead to such kinds of events.”

Notably, Jammu and Kashmir has been witnessing unusually high temperatures in the spring for the last few years. The month of March 2022 was confirmed as the warmest month in Srinagar in 131 years.

The “warm winters” is a major concern leading to melting of glaciers early at a significant rate, according to a study which used satellite data to find that over 1,200 glaciers in the Himalayan region saw an annual reduction in mass of 35 centimetres (cm) on average between the year 2000 and 2012.

“On the basis of just one study, we can just declare that warm winters are because of climate change,” Dr. Arshad said. “But yes, the early spring blossom is a matter of concern.”

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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is special correspondent with Kashmir Observer and tweets @AuqibJaveed

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