By Raashid Hassan
Shopian: In the famous apple producing district of Shopian, Horticulture department so far has approved seven beneficiaries in private sector to be covered under the ‘High Density Apple Plantation Scheme’ in district.
The government under this scheme promotes high density plantations, phasing out old plantations which have completed their economic life, giving farmers a subsidy of 50 percent on this re-plantation.
The departmental also provides technical support to these growers for scientific layout of these new plantations.
The officials of horticulture departments told Kashmir Reader that until last week we had seven beneficiaries who will be switching over to HDP.
“After proper assessment, site selection and taking stock of available irrigation facility, we provide 50% subsidy to the growers who plant new apple trees of this new breed,” says Chief Horticulture Officer Shopian, Mohammad Akhtar.
For this revamp the cost worked out by the department for a Kanal of land has been estimated at Rs 1.6 lakh.
The government provides the beneficiary Rs 80,000 while he has to invest Rs 80,000 of his own.
He said that proper irrigation is vital for raising this type of plantation and for a bigger plots may need a bore well facility.
Contrary to traditional plantations the mew setup needs a drip pattern of irrigation, proper sanitation and frequent checkups.
The officials said that a team of expertise from GoI is already deployed for counseling growers and farmers on how to take benefits under this scheme.
“This kind of plantation is well researched for giving a better fruit yield,” officials added.
Akhtar added that they are providing free technical expertise to the apple growers in this scheme.
He added that many more can apply for this scheme after registration in block level office. The government in December last year accorded sanction to the implementation of the ‘High Density Apple Plantation Scheme’ by the Horticulture department.
It was in the 2015-16 budget speech, the state’s finance minister Dr Haseeb A Drabu had announced establishment of High Density Plantation Orchards in the state and earmarked Rs 150 cr under the ‘Secure Horticulture Future’ initiative that was envisaged to raise average production from the current level of 10 MT/Ha to the international level of 40-70 MT/Ha.