The early onset of warm weather in Central Asia from the end of January resulted in early blooming of stone fruit species. Almonds, apricots and cherries have blossomed in the southern and central parts of Uzbekistan, in the north the buds are just ripe and ready to bloom.
The sharp drop to -12oC at night on Wednesday and to -8 degrees in the daytime on Thursday with a high degree of probability will result in the loss of a part of the future fruit harvest.
EastFruit interviewed gardeners, farmers and specialists from the Fergana Valley, Bukhara, Samarkand and Surkhandarya provinces on how they assess the risks of losing future stone fruit crops. The first three provinces provide almost 70% of the fruits and berries produced in the country.
“As for the risks from the cold weather, I am more concerned about the apricot harvest, as these trees are inherently 'weak'. In addition to cold weather, their yield is also affected by the level of precipitation and other factors associated with weather conditions. Due to the cold weather, we may lose the whole apricot harvest this year. Sweet cherries are generally more “stable” in this regard, but at such subzero temperatures, losses cannot be avoided here either. I remember how at the end of March 2013 or 2014 the cold also hit with snow. Then we lost about 35% of the sweet cherry crop,”said Nizom Akbarov, a farmer from Kuvasay.
Mahmud Oripov, expert in agricultural economics, Ph.D., associate professor of Bukhara State University, believes that the loss of stone fruit yield from the cold weather can range from 30% to 80%, depending on the variety and type of these fruits.
“Almonds and apricots have already blossomed in our area. Almonds are more resistant than apricots to sudden temperature drops. On the harvest of the latter, we can lose 70-80%,” said Ilhom Juraev, a gardener from Payaryk district of Samarkand province.
Interviewed gardeners and farmers from other districts of Samarkand province, located closer to the mountainous areas, reported that fruit trees have not yet blossomed.