Som Dutt, 67, has been cultivating exotic vegetables and flowers in India’s Himalayan mountain village of Sekuri since his childhood, but for the first time this year, he lost nearly all his crops to unprecedented rains and pest attacks. “It rained so hard that it washed away many of our crops. Then the temperature rose suddenly, causing pest attacks,” he said. “I have never seen this kind of weather.”
Floriculture and cultivation of vegetables such as red cabbage and iceberg lettuce have flourished in Sekuri – surrounded by a protected forest area in Himachal Pradesh’s Chail – for decades because of an ambient climate. But climate change has hit the Himalayan range hard, disrupting the lives of over a billion people in South Asia living in the mountains as well as those in plains dependent on river basins originating in glaciers.
India’s June-September monsoon, which brings 70 percent of the country’s rainfall, ended at a five-year low of 94 percent of a long-period average this season. But more worrying than the drop in volumes has been its erratic pattern.
After a sluggish start in June, rains rebounded above average in July, followed by one of the driest months in history in August. Unusually heavy showers in September wiped out a seasonal deficit but hit the ripening crops close to harvest.
Read more at scmp.com