Association of Agrometeorologists

Impact of climate change on apple crop in Himachal Pradesh


The study examines the impact of climate change in recent years on apple shift to higher altitude in Himachal Pradesh based on climate information and farmers perceptions. It is evident that temperature in apple growing regions of Himachal Pradesh showed increasing trends whereas precipitation showed decreasing trends. The temperature trends in apple growing regions of Kullu and Shimla indicated 1.8 to 4.1 0 C rise in past two decades which reflected in decrease of chill units (CU) hours accumulations. The annual snow fall decreasing rate of 36.8 mm with decreasing trends of snowfall during early winters (October & December) and late winters (March and April) clearly indicated the shrinking winter period in high hills. The CU hours showed decreasing trends upto 2400 meter above mean sea level (amsl) from Bajaura in district, Kullu at 1221 m amsl to Sarbo in district Kinnaur at 2400 m amsl. The Dhundi station situated at 2700 m amsl showed increasing trend of chill unit at the rate of 25.0 CUs per year. The increasing trends of chill units at 2700 m amsl suggested that area is becoming suitable for apple cultivation in higher altitude. These findings have also been supported by the farmers’ perceptions which clearly reflected that apple cultivation is expanding to higher altitude in Lahaul and Spitti and Kinnaur. The average landuse per farm in Lahual and Spitti showed more than two percent shift towards apple cultivation but it showed reverse trend in other apple growing regions of Himachal Pradesh. The income of the farmers increased more than 10 percent in district Lahual and Spitti whereas it showed a decrease of more than 27 percent in Kullu and Shimla districts from fruits in recent decade compared to 1995. The data on area under apple cultivation also compounded statement that apple cultivation is expanding in Lahaul and Spitti in recent decade. The climate change has demonstrated its impact of decreasing productivity of apple crop in recent years.

Climate change, apple, chill units hours and productivity