t is spring in Kashmir. Soon the hillocks would be adorned with different blooms. The most prominent-and the most sublime-is indeed the almond bloom. Our elders have been telling us stories how they relished taking a samovar filled with Kehva to Badamwari -famous almond alcove in downtown Srinagar and relish the moments with families. The whole of Badamwari was filled with people from all sections of the society. It was a time when the money did not matter much and everyone was happy with whatever little they had. What great times!
We have been witnessing thinner bloom and consequently lesser almond yield from over last five years. The changing weather patterns have been attributed to the decline in the yield. The fact of the matter is that almonds are less labor-intensive and if the yield is bumper the landowner earns a good sum that should sustain him for the coming summer and winter. However, the decreasing snowfall in winters and early spring patterns are interfering with the blooming patterns of almonds thus decreasing the yield many times over. It would come as a surprise to many of us that the famous almond alcove of Koeil in Pulwama has now been converted into apple orchards. In many other plateaus vernacularly called vedars people are shifting over to apple orchards.
An almond tree gives long-lasting quality embers for the local firepot Kangri. This year the winter has been true to its nature. We are expecting a good almond bloom and a good yield this year as the weather is conducive for the almond production.
Since almond blooms early spring and is ready by staring summer it makes a good omen to start the year with. Good spring weather means a good summer and a good summer means good production of paddy and apples in autumn. This is how the cycle of agriculture works in an ecologically fragile valley.
We wish all almond growers a financially viable year ahead. Let us celebrate almond blossom this spring.