Unprecedented snowfall damages fruit trees in Afghanistan

Gardeners in the Nirkh district of Maidan Wardak reported that unexpected snowfall and cold weather have destroyed their fruit trees, which were in bloom, causing significant financial losses for nearly 2,000 families in the area.

Gula Jan, 53, who owns apricot and apple orchards, said the snowfall has wiped out his family’s income.

“We have never seen such snowfall at this time of year in the last 53 years, which coincides with the apple and apricot blooming season,” Jan said. He has called on Afghan authorities to assist affected farmers.

Najibullah Sadid, a climate change expert, noted that the local population, living mostly by river sides, is often unaware of international forecasts and warnings. “Our people suffer a lot, not only from the loss of lives but also from the loss of their gardens and agricultural lands,” Sadid said.

Local farmers added that hundreds of apple, apricot, and cherry trees in bloom were destroyed by the snowfall over the last two days. Gardeners were observed cutting all the damaged branches.

“The snow fell and destroyed the tree blossoms. It ruined us. These flowers were our only hope, but the snow has destroyed everything,” said Mohammad Salem, a farmer.

Sher Zaman, another farmer, lamented the widespread damage. “The walls are destroyed, the houses are destroyed, our crops are destroyed, they were all blossoming. The cherries, apricots, apples, and pears are all gone and nothing is left for us,” Zaman said.

The press office of Maidan Wardak province stated Monday that the snowfall during the apple and apricot blossom season is a serious concern for the province’s farmers.