Dual Threat of Drought-like Conditions and Flash Floods Puts Kashmir Valley’s Food Security at Risk

Environmental News from India: 

  • In the Kashmir Valley, dry conditions prevailed from March to mid-June this year, followed by flash floods later, triggering fears of severe economic losses among farmers.
  • The streamflows in the Jhelum river have depleted significantly. An increase in average temperatures, low precipitation and loss of glaciers in the region, are considered to be the primary reasons. Rivers and their tributaries across Kashmir have been recording a drop in water levels.
  • The adverse weather conditions that have affected the main crops of the valley (apple and paddy) are expected to impact the food security of the region. The farmers are advised to pursue alternate crops but they expect support from the government in terms of crop insurance.

In the village of Brah, in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district, Mudasir Ahmad, a 32-year-old farmer is considering giving up farming since he has been incurring losses for many years now. Weather events have been damaging his crops, says Ahmad, adding that his losses run in to several lakhs of rupees. He, along with his three brothers, owns two hectares of land which would usually yield him crops worth Rs. 700,000 to 800,000 (seven to eight lakh) each year.

This year, however, farmers in the Kashmir Valley fear big losses as they face dual-threat from drought-like situations and flash floods.

The scarcity of water throughout April, May and June across Kashmir, led to a drought-like situation. This triggered panic among the farmers since they could not irrigate their fields and transplant the paddy saplings. Orchardists, predominantly apple growers, also faced problems in the absence of irrigation water.

“We could not transplant paddy saplings as the nurseries dried in May itself. Apple trees are in a bad condition. We could not irrigate the orchard which has led to the leaves falling and drying of trees reducing the yield to naught,” Ahmad told Mongabay-India.

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Source: Mongabay

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