CHITRAL: Farmers are worried over scanty rainfall in the valley this year which may adversely affect the production of fruits and cereal crops.
Due to dry spell and rise in temperature flowering of almonds and apricots and sprouting of apple, pear, peach, plums and cherry have started 40 days ahead of the normal time.
Shahriyar Baig of Bakamak said apricot and almond plants had started flowering in his backyard which used to happen after March 20.
He said Chitral valley had not received rainfall for the last 40 days, and the hilly parts were totally devoid of snow, which was rare. He said a drought-like situation loomed large over the valley.
Attaur Rahman, a senior agriculturist at the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, said the anomalous and irregular flowering and sprouting of fruit plants manifested the impending danger.
He said low yield of fruit trees and cereal crops was imminent due to scanty rainfall which may also affect quality of fruit and grain. He said fungus growth in wheat crop had been witnessed as a result of dry season. He said the crop was grown over more than 90 per cent of the total cultivable land which may cause food scarcity both for humans and animals.
Mr Rahman, however, said the situation could improve if it rained in sufficient amount in early April.
Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2021