Minister for Horticulture, Syed Basharat Ahmed Bukhari, today chaired a meeting to take a comprehensive review of procurement of high density plants and overall functioning of the Horticulture Department.
Secretary Horticulture Department Mohammad Hussain Malik, Director Horticulture Kashmir Rafiq Ahmad Hakim, Director Finance Horticulture and other officers were present in the meeting.
The Minister said that the Government is making concerted efforts to enhance the production and productivity of apple in the State. He said this will enable the state to compete in the national and international markets and will usher in greater employment opportunities in horticulture sector.
He said with the adoption of these high density plants the economic returns of farmers are sure to shoot up and directed the concerned for speeding up the process of placing these plants to achieve tangible targets on ground.
It was given out that concrete steps are being taken regarding implementation of Expression of Interest (EIO), which would help in production of large quantities of apples and create enough employment opportunities in the valley.
Bukhari said that multipronged approach needs to be adopted for ensuring better yield and minimizing post harvest losses. He stressed that in order to improve the yield and cut losses the Department should work together with farmers for promoting use of new technologies and better farming practices.
He also emphasized on better marketing practices of horticulture produce of the State. He said that nature has bestowed the State with good climatic conditions for quality horticulture produce and the Department needs to work towards improving marketing facilities besides building a strong brand and motivating young generation of the state to become part of the horticulture sector.
Appreciating the efforts of the Horticulture Department, the Minister called for coordinated efforts in organizing awareness camps and programmes for fruit growers and budding entrepreneurs under the aegis of various Departmental schemes.
He said that the Department has network of nurseries and stressed for supplying better quality and high yielding plants to the horticulturists.
He further directed the concerned for judicious use of funds and urged them not to compromise on quality of work and asked the officers to conduct frequent field visits and redress the issues and grievances of the people on priority.
Later, the Minister met a delegation of members from The New Kashmir Fruit Association Parimpora and gave a patient hearing to them and assured them of prompt redressal of their genuine grievances.