‘Promote traditional varieties of apple, high density plantation’

‘Promote traditional varieties of apple, high density plantation’
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Minister for promoting JK’s prime fruit crop as a  tourism product
SRINAGAR: The State Government has decided to observe 2017 as the ‘Year of Apple’ to integrate the State’s prime fruit crop as one of the tourist attractions and ensure its better brand building and marketing on professional lines. This was said in an official press note issued here.
According to the document, Minister for Horticulture, Syed Basharat Ahmed Bukhari  chaired a high level meeting on Monday to take stock of various activities to be organized during the current year as part of the campaign to promote Apple as a tourism crop.
Minister of State for Horticulture, Priya Sethi was also present in the meeting.
Speaking at the meeting, the minister said a multi-pronged approach needed to be adopted for ensuring brand building and marketing of the apple crop to integrate it as a tourism product.
He asked the concerned departments to “prepare for the formal launch of the ‘Year of Apple’ campaign next month” that will continue throughout the year. He said, “As a part of this programme a buyer-seller meet and an international conference on apple would be organized in Srinagar in September this year,” adding that intensive and extended awareness programmes would be launched within and outside the State for promotion of ‘Kashmiri apple’.
The Minister said that the government was “committed to achieve the objectives to enhance the production and productivity of quality apple fruit crops in the State” to compete in the Indian and international markets “with highest employment opportunities in horticulture sector”.
While stressing on better marketing practices of horticulture produce of the State, Bukhari said that the department needed to work towards “improving marketing facilities.” besides “building a strong brand and motivating young generation of the State” to become part of the “highly lucrative horticulture sector”.
The minster also directed for launching publicity campaigns and mass awareness camps for traders and growers regarding Apple Year celebrations.
“Indentify model orchids on way to Pahalgam and Gulmarg to lure tourists,” he directed the concerned as per the statement.
Bukhari aslo stressed that traditional varieties of apple like Amburr, Malmohi, Kiser, Razaqwaar, and Golden Delicious be also promoted as well as high density apple plantation.
The minister also stressed on developing “proper infrastructure for storage of fruits and establishment of Plant Health Clinics” across the State.
“The department should explore the possibility for establishing more testing labs and fruit packaging units,” he added.
He stressed for “proper grading, branding of the quality of the fruits” and directed for organizing exhibitions in Srinagar, Jammu, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Calcutta, Chennai, Hyderabad and Ahmadabad.
“In order to manage the traffic system for trucks during the fruit season, introduce special stickers for quick movement of the fruit which shall be displayed on the windscreen of the trucks,” further directed Bukhari. He stressed for ‘Buyer’s and Grower’s Conference’ to be held at Srinagar in collaboration with J&K Bank and Tourism Department and ‘awareness camps’ for the growers and traders in all districts in collaboration with the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology – Kashmir (SKUAST-K) and Tourism Department.
MoS Priya Sethi, according to the statement said the department should work together with farmers for promoting use of new technologies and better farming practices and assured that the Government would support the effort of the department to develop the horticulture sector on modern lines.
“There’s need to improve the productivity and profitability with value addition and employment generation,” emphasized Sethi while providing valuable suggestions and highlighting the importance of horticulture sector in the State.

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