SRINAGAR: Minister for Horticulture, Syed Basharat Ahmed Bukhari, Tuesday said that a comprehensive horticulture policy would be announced soon which will go a long way in strengthening economy of the State and benefit a huge section of population associated with the sector.
The Minister was speaking at a review meeting of Horticulture Department which was also attended by Minister of State for Horticulture Priya Sethi, VC State Horticulture Board Nizamudin Bhat, Secretary Horticulture, M H Malik, Director Horticulture Kashmir/Jammu and other concerned officers.
Bukhari said horticulture is a vital sector in the State generating Rs 6000 crore of annual income and provides employment to about 33 lakh souls directly and indirectly.
He said a comprehensive horticulture policy is being formulated with inputs from experts, which will cover all elements of the sector and give a roadmap for catalyzing a horticulture revolution. He directed the officials to work with added zeal so that the sector is able to catch–up with the modern fruit industry in the West. He said be it in yield per hectare or selection of fruits, everything will be taken care of in the new policy.
The Minister directed the officials to undertake census of all horticulture zones within 15 days. He said with the help of experts a set of recommendations will be released determining best zone for growth of any particular crop. He said it will be followed by massive intervention from Horticulture Department in terms of scientific inputs, selection of plants, marketing and promotion recommendations and others related measures.
Regarding availability of plant material, he was informed that there are 70 Government nurseries in Kashmir division which provided 2.64 lakh plant materials during the last year, besides 235 private nurseries are also working under private sector to meet the need of around 10 lakh plant materials.
On the occasion, the Minister directed the officials to ensure every private nursery is accredited within 15 days, pending which the Government will discourage growers to purchase plant material from such nurseries. He also directed the officials to seek a report from experts to see if plant material from outside can be grown speedily in Jammu nurseries and then transported to Kashmir valley.
Regarding the matter of pending Kissan Credit Card scheme, he directed the officials to take up the matter with the JK Bank authorities and get them cleared within a month. He also stressed on the need of providing hassle free credit facilities to growers.
While reviewing implementation of Market Intervention Scheme, the Minister directed the officials to take necessary measures so that the scheme benefits local unemployed youth.