Unseasonal Snowfall in Nawur District; Farmers are Disappointed with an Unproductive Season

The unanticipated snowfall during spring and the onset of the agricultural season has shattered the expectations of farmers in specific areas of Nawur district, Ghazni province. This uncommon snowfall, in addition to damaging their crops, has brought freezing temperatures as low as sub-zero degrees centigrade to the district. Nawur, recognized as one of the colder regions in the country, endures prolonged winters with limited warm and summer days. Farmers express doubts about the viability of their crops even if the weather improves and they revive. They caution that without assistance from relief organizations, challenging times lie ahead.

In discussions with Hasht-e Subh Daily, some district residents reported witnessing substantial snowfall and abundant rain throughout the winter, raising expectations for a fruitful summer and autumn. However, the sudden cold spell in the middle of spring has dashed the farmers’ hopes, leaving them despondent. Although the district initially experienced heavy snowfall at the start of this spring season, the weather gradually improved, and farmers diligently resumed their work. Nevertheless, in the second week of May 2023, the snow returned unexpectedly, rekindling concerns among district residents about drought and famine.

Khadim Hussain, a 56-year-old resident of the village “Korala” in Nawur district, has been involved in farming and animal husbandry in this area since childhood. He explains that despite the limited agricultural land in this mountainous district, farmers managed to sustain themselves in previous years by cultivating crops and selling their harvest.

According to Khadim Hussain, “This year, we had a good winter with heavy snowfall, and the water streams are flowing abundantly. However, the weather took a turn for the worse. The wheat fields were thriving just a month ago, but then it unexpectedly snowed again. The cold weather froze all the crops. Now, either the crops won’t grow and will die, or they will survive but won’t bear any fruits.” This farmer further explains, “In this region, we only have 60 days for the crops to reach maturity, and half of that time has been lost due to the cold and snowy conditions.”

Ali Yawar, a resident of this district, cultivates a field near his house. He and his four family members are involved in agriculture to sustain their livelihood. Ali Yawar, who has planted potatoes on his land this year, lacks optimism about a bountiful harvest due to the exceptionally cold weather.

The farmer explains, “Potatoes need warm weather and sunlight for their growth. We had recently planted the seeds, but then it unexpectedly snowed, and the weather turned extremely cold. Nights are freezing now. The issue in this region is that winter comes too early. After nearly a month of hard work, we have less than two months left before winter arrives again. I no longer have hope for a good harvest this year.”

According to agricultural experts, the late start of the crop growing season poses the risk of famine and livestock losses. They argue that lands in high and mountainous regions, where summers are short, have limited time for crop maturity.

The residents of Nawur district are appealing to relief organizations for assistance in supporting impoverished families and individuals affected by the situation, in order to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and livestock losses. They emphasize that without humanitarian aid, they will face challenging days ahead.

Afghanistan has been facing climate change in recent years, leading to various impacts. The effects include drought, unseasonal snow and rain, destructive floods during the harvest season, and crop damage caused by pests. Similarly, Nawur district, along with other districts and provinces, experienced heavy summer rains and devastating floods last year. Located approximately 100 kilometers northwest of Ghazni City, the district falls within the Ghazni province. Despite being one of the largest districts in terms of area, it has limited arable land due to its mountainous terrain. The residents rely on livestock farming and agriculture for their livelihoods, with wheat, barley, and potatoes being the main agricultural products in this district.