Srinagar: To aid apple growers in Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, Bayer and GIZ (Gesellschaftfür Internationale Zusammenarbeit) has established the AVID project (Apple Value Chain Interventions for Development) to improve the income of growers in selected districts in the two states through better agronomic practices, value chain interventions and other innovations.
The GIZ, which is a German government-owned, not-for-profit enterprise supporting sustainable development, is the implementing partner while Bayer CropScience is the main private partner in the AVID project.
To understand the concerns faced by apple growers and to witness first-hand the on-ground activities carried out under the project, German Ambassador to India, Dr. Martin Ney, visited apple orchards in Kashmir along with delegates from the German Embassy, GIZ, Bayer and the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) on Tuesday.
The delegation visited the Ambri apple research station where Prof. Dr. Nazeer Ahmed, Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-K, explained the joint initiative taken by Bayer, GIZ & SKUAST scientists to test the weather station linked RIMpro model for forecasting and monitoring apple scab which is a dreaded disease affecting apple crop in the Kashmir valley.
Currently the RIMpro model is being tested at two locations viz. Phanu in South Kashmir and Wadura in North Kashmir. After validating the advisory to the apple growers based on RIMpro model for two years, it will be extended to more areas in the valley.
The delegation also visited the SKUAST Shalimar campus, where Dr. NazeerAhmed shared information on the various research and development projects being undertaken to modernize apple cultivation in Kashmir.
The delegation also visited an apple orchard at the Arrihal village in South Kashmir, where Joerg Rehbein, Head of Bayer CropScience Indian Subcontinent, and the German Ambassador inaugurated an apple clinic. Apple growers in the area were invited to this demonstration to receive hands-on training in diagnosing techniques for diseases, insect pests, nutrient deficiencies and other problems for taking informed decisions.
The importance of using appropriate safety equipment by growers during application of crop protection products was also addressed. This was followed by distribution of protective equipment to growers. This training farm in the Shopian district is the eleventh amongst a total of 30 apple clinics intending to reach at least 1,200 farmers in Jammu & Kashmir.