Srinagar, Mar 31: Amid increasing number of coronavirus patients, experts have advised farmers to stay home as a precautionary measure for fighting COVID-19 infection.
In an advisory issued by ICAR-CITH to Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS), experts said as farmers have their orchards in nearby areas and can work in isolation with proper care in handling the activities on one side and maintaining distances on other hand.
“Keeping in view the important stage of most of the temperate fruit and nut crops at the present which determines the final production i.e. flowering stage. Canopy management, grafting and planting of different crops has been done which needs proper after care. Following advisory is recommended for next two weeks in temperate fruits and nuts to increasing productivity and quality of the produce,” the advisory reads.
Similarly, they advised to remove all pruned wood/twigs/branches etc. from the orchards as a precautionary crop protection measures especially for scab in apple.
“New plantations need to be irrigated especially in those areas which did not receive recent rainfall. Areas received rainfall this week may avoid irrigating their plants if the surface is wet. Plants which have been grafted and kept under protected conditions/playhouses etc. need to be irrigated without failing to ensure their survival,” it reads.
The experts also said cross pollinated crops like apple, almond and cherry need to have sufficient pollinator/bee activity in orchard to ensure potential yields. In almond, apple or cherry 6 bee hives are recommended per hectare.
“At present almond and cherry may flower in most of Kashmir conditions and thus need pollinator in sufficient quantity. Low chill apple cultivars and apple grown in lower part of HP may flower in coming week and thus need pollinator for enhancing yield. If sufficient pollinator is not planted in orchards the twigs of the same may be kept as bouquet pollinizer (supplementary pollinizer),” it reads.
The experts said crops which are in flowering should not be sprayed with any pesticide. “Spray of insecticides/fungicides should be done as per the recommended spray schedule. In Jammu and Kashmir walnut and apricot are grown organic by default. Need based spraying is done in these crops. But strict spray schedule is followed in apple crop being most vulnerable to diseases and pests. At present, based on local climatic conditions and kind of varieties spray schedule recommended by respective department of Horticulture may be followed. Stages like pink bud and petal fall may be approaching in apple and therefore schedule as per the stage specific recommendation may be followed.”
“Plant protection spray should be done with all protection gears like masks, apron, googles, shoes etc. Keeping in view the threat of COVID-19 spread, all the workers should change their garments and use proper uniform (clothes) which can be kept separate after spraying as a precautionary measure. Every worker should wash hands and arms with alcohol-based sanitizer or soap before and after field operation. Machinery used need to be sanitized and properly washed before and after use,” it reads.
It also issued do’s and don’ts for farmers. “If anybody is feeling sick, cough, sneezing, fever etc. kindly consult doctor rather than work in orchards.
Keep distances between the workers (at least one-meter distance should be kept between the people). Don’t hand shake or hug each other, please don’t spit. If you feel healthy then go to field/orchard for executing the recommended activities. Avoid unknown persons/outsiders to enter your orchard or premises. Use stickers/adjuvants for better efficacy of fungicides (except Dodine) especially during rainy days, like Sandovit @ 50-75 ml/100l/. Spraying pesticides in full bloom should be avoided. Spraying should be done during early morning or evening hours. During spraying take proper protection measures like wear googles, gloves, masks, apron etc. and keep distance from plants. For any clarification/query please contact: Dr D B Singh (9419061669); Dr O C Sharma (9419243119), Dr Javid I Mir (9906602101), Dr Wasim H Raja (9419058998), Dr Sajad Un Nabi (7006487704) or Dr S N Kirmani (7006316856),” it added.(KINS)