JAMMU: Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday stressed on strict pesticide and fertilizer quality check in order to maintain the production quality of horticulture sector and save the farmers from losses.
Chairing a meeting of Horticulture Development Board here, she said horticulture is the mainstay of a large section of population in the State and it contributes significantly to the economy of the State.
The Chief Minister said there is a dire need of regulation and quality control of pesticides and fertilizers so that the quality of the horticulture produce is ensured and its export standards are also maintained. She laid stress on early operationalisation of pesticide testing labs in Jammu and Kashmir provinces which have been already sanctioned. She suggested fertilizer checking at the district levels as well so that farmers remain aware about the standards and efficacy of sprays and oils they would be using.
The Chief Minister also asked for redirecting the focus on the sector and promoting horticulture more as a business activity of immense employability potential in the State rather than a routine farming activity. She said thrust should be laid on quick technology transfer and latest techniques to improve quality a nd production.
The meeting decided to conduct an agriculture survey and horticulture mapping of the State to know the precise area under cultivation. It also decided to impart training in pruning and post harvest technology at the ITI level to prepare trained manpower for the horticulture industry.
The meeting was told that 35 lakh souls of seven lakh families are associated with the horticulture sector in the State.
The meeting was also informed that 14 lakh metric tonnes of fruit were exported from the State last year.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister also inaugurated the website of Horticulture Department, www.horticulture.gov.jk.in.
Minister for Finance, Dr. Haseeb A. Drabu; legislators, M. Y. Tarigami, Bashir Ahmad Dar, Javid Hassan Baig, Rajeev Sharma, Chief Secretary, B. R. Sharma; Financial Commissioner, Planning & Development, B. B. Vyas; Commissioner-Secretary, Finance, Navin Chaudhary; Secretary, Horticulture, M. H. Malik; Vice Chancellors of SKUAST, Jammu & Kashmir; officers of Horticulture Department, some progressive growers and members of the Board were present in the meeting.