SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir government is in negotiations with an Italian company for import of high-density fruit plants, aiming to bring about 100 hectares of orchards in Kashmir under the ambitious plantation project this season.
The government, in a release issued here Friday, said it has a target of bringing 100 hectares of orchard land under high density plantation in Kashmir during the ongoing crop season.
“The aim is to improvise the varieties and productivity of apple crop in the state,” it said.
The government, as per the release, has already floated global tenders for procurement of quality high-density varieties of apples and has started negotiations with the foreign suppliers who have shown interest in export of plant material to J&K.
Accordingly, it said, the Horticulture Minister, Abdul Rehman Veeri, had “a marathon meeting” with the representatives of GRIBA company of Italy here on Friday.
GRIBA is the Europe’s largest apple plant producer, exporting over two million plants annually.
“During the meeting, GRIBA showed its willingness to supply quality plant material from Italy, besides imparting technical knowhow to the fruit growers and horticulture officials of the state,” the release said.
The government, after it decided to introduce high-density plants in the state, has already entered a similar agreement with Netherlands.
Minister for R&B and Floriculture, Syed Altaf Ahmad Bukhari, Commissioner Secretary Agriculture Production, Mohammad Ashraf Bukhari, Director HP&M, Director Horticulture Kashmir were also present in the meeting.
The release said it was made clear to GRIBA that it “must come up with ‘Expression of Interest’ for establishment of high-density orchards on turnkey basis in private public partnership mode in Kashmir”.
“It was also decided that the project-based establishment of such orchards will facilitate training to the local fruit growers including the officials of Horticulture Department for conducting orchard management operations like training, pruning and plant protection measures for production of quality apple crop at par with the advanced countries in the world,” it said.
The Italian company’s representative said that GRIBA, which is Europe’s largest apple nursery, is harvesting not less than 100 MTs apple per hectare with an average productivity of 70 MTs per hectare.
He said the company recently also started a fruit-trading division in Italy and India and will try to tap the “booming” fruit trade market in India.