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Snowmelt Harvesting Saves Orchards during Dry Spells in Kashmir:

About 3.3% of total geographical area of Kashmir is under cultivation, of which 60% is rainfed. Horticulture-based farming systems are predominant in Kashmir. Frequent dry spells experienced during kharif affects cultivation of crops like apples and pears which are the major crops of Pulwama region. In Drubgam village of the district where NICRA is being implemented, most of the cultivated area is rainfed and the apple and pear orchards generally suffer due to erratic rainfall. Further, the productivity of these crops in the village is low due to lack of irrigation facilities and low input use. After the fruit set, irrigation is necessary to ensure higher fruit retention if dry spells occur.  Therefore, interventions including rainwater/snowmelt harvesting tanks and micro-irrigation systems are being promoted in the village.


Rainwater/snowmelt harvesting structures are being demonstrated at select farmers’ fields as effective means of collection and storing of runoff and melted snow. The stored water is being used for providing irrigation at critical stages of fruit crops and vegetables. This water is also useful for spraying orchards, vegetables in the absence of water source in nearby areas.  During the last two years, it was observed that not only the growth of apple trees and other crops has improved but there is also improvement in the yield and quality of the produce due to efficient utilization of harvested rainwater and snow. Impressed with the benefits, many farmers are coming forward to adopt the technology.


   
Rainwater/snowmelt harvesting tanks

 

   
 Happy farmers with better garlic and maize yields

 

 

 

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