Fruit growers’ conclave held at SKUAST-K

US-based Kashmiri scientist to implement in valley technology that increases shelf-life of apples

SRINAGAR: The directorate of extension Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir (SKAUST-K) in collaboration with department of horticulture, on Thursday organized fruit growers’ conclave here at Shalimar.
Among others, the conclave was attended by Prof Nazir Ahmad Mir, a Kashmiri scientist working in USA, who has innovated the technology of Methylcyclopropene (MCP) gas. His technology increases the shelf line of apples during pre- and post-harvest.
He said the incumbent government was encouraging him to implement the technology in Kashmir.
“I thank Mufti government that showed positive response towards this technology and encouraged me to implement it here,” Prof Mir said while making a power point presentation.
“This technology will increase the shelf line of apples till seven months. By simply applying the gas, it will keep apples at room temperate. This technology has already been adopted in USA,” he added.
Vice Chancellor SKAUST-K, Prof Nazeer Ahmad, who was the chief guest of the event, said that the aim of the function was to get the feedback from the growers which are the real assets of the horticulture industry in Kashmir.
He noted various points raised by the growers, scientists, and concerned departments and promised them that their genuine demands of increase in quality production, price increment of products and the issue of unemployment will be worked out on priority basis.
“Chief minister is looking forward to take the horticulture sector to the new heights, which is in fact a motivation for us to work as a team from farmer to SKAUST scientists,” Prof Nazeer said. “We are now working on a high density technology adopted by developed countries 50 years ago for increasing the cost of production. We are now working on it and we will make sure to increase the quality production.”
MH Malik, secretary horticulture, said that the department was on a mission to compete with walnut and almond from California. “Our walnut and almond have no competition worldwide,” Malik said. “The only thing where we are lacking is the promotion of our products.”
He also promised the growers that the soil and disease related issues of trees will be soon worked out to prevent destruction of trees.
In the conclave, various issues faced by the growers were discussed, like schemes of the government, land use policy, single window system and cold storage.
The function was attended by PK Sharma, director of horticulture (planning and management), Sushil Sahani, director law enforcement and other officials and traders.