SRINAGAR: To extend modern technological knowhow to the farmers of Jammu and Kashmir, two Centres of Excellence for horticulture sector are being set up in the state with a cost of Rs 10 crore to be provided by the government of India.
The state has sought technical guidance from Netherlands for establishing the centres, one each in Kashmir and Jammu divisions.
“Dutch experts are already here to carry out the preliminary survey for the formulation of DPRs in this regard,” the government said in a release issued here on Thursday.
It said the Minister for Horticulture, Abdul Rehman Veeri, held a meeting with the Dutch experts and officers of the Horticulture Department to discuss various components of the Centres of Excellence.
Netherlands’ CoE Coordinator for India Dr Leon Hussan, Deputy Agriculture Councillor (embassy of Netherlands) Anand Krishnan, Senior Expert Antoon Andela, J&K’s Commissioner Secretary Agriculture Production department Mohammad Ashraf Bukhari, Director HP&M, Horticulture Directors, and Director Finance Agriculture department participated in the meeting.
“Veeri emphasised on early formulation of DPRs so that the Centres come up at the earliest for the benefit of the fruit growers. He asked the Horticulture Department to extend all requisite support to the Dutch experts in the formulation of these DPRs,” the release said.
Horticulture is one of the main contributors to the state’s economy, constituting, along with other agriculture-allied sectors, above 20 per cent of the SGDP. Often describing horticulture as “the backbone of state’s economy”, the ruling PDP-BJP coalition has assured measures for giving boost to the sector.
Besides making budgetary allocation for the growth of the sector, the government has been repeatedly assuring farmers of policies that, among other benefits, guarantee crop insurance and market intervention to regulate the export of fruits.
One of the most ambitious moves under consideration is the introduction of high-density plant varieties to be imported from European nations. Earlier this year, the state formally sought technical help from Netherlands for successful introduction of the high-density varieities in the state.
The minister, according to the release, told the Netherlands’ experts and officials in the meeting that the new, imported rootstocks “shall not only improve the productivity of different fruit varieties in the state but also revive the old and senile orchards, benefitting large number of fruit growers associated with the horticulture industry”.
The CoE Coordinator for India and Deputy Councillor of Agriculture assured the minister that the government of Netherlands is ready to extend support in technological knowhow, farm machinery, and elite planting material for agriculture, horticulture, floriculture, and dairy farming sectors, it said.