Minister for Horticulture Basharat Ahmed Bukhari today said the government is framing a comprehensive Horticulture Policy in the state for revamping and revitalizing the horticulture sector as it forms the backbone of the state’s economy.
The Minister said this while addressing the gathering of progressive farmers after inspecting Government Fruit Plant Nursery and Grape Farm at Marallian in RS Pura.
The Minister also inaugurated Horticulture Development Officers’ Office there.
The Minister further said that comprehensive horticulture policy is on anvil which would be formulated by a Board of experts, keeping in view various vital parameters. He said that various farmer friendly initiatives have been taken by the department to make it an economically viable activity.
Vice Chairman, State Advisory Board for Welfare and Development of Scheduled Castes Bhushan Lal Dogra, Director, Horticulture Bhawani Rakwal, Chief Horticulture Officer, Jammu CL Sharma, Joint Director, Horticulture Tarvinder Singh, Cluster Head Reliance General Insurance Sharad Kumar and progressive farmers were present on the occasion.
Listing the initiatives of the government for enhancing production, the Minister said the horticulture census is underway in the State to ascertain the exact number of fruit and non-fruit bearing trees for creation of data bank and future plan for optimally tapping the potential in this field.
The Minister said that strict check is maintained on sale and use of any spurious pesticides and insecticides in the State and any firm indulging in this business would be dealt with iron fist. He exhorted upon the farmers to use organic inputs, farmyard manure and vermi compost for better production.
Bukhari said the Horticulture Department is an intervention department which provides technical expertise to the farmers for increasing the production of fruits and vegetables. He asked the officers of the department to send only farmers and fruit growers on horticulture tours so that they can learn new methods adopted by the farmers outside the State.
He further said that better marketing avenues should be provided to the farmers based on scientific lines so that they fetch good returns for their produce. Digitization of mandis would be done so that the prices of vegetables and fruits can be displayed in mandis for the convenience of the farmers, traders and consumers, he added.
The Minister also stressed the need to have better synergy between the department and SKUAST for taking technological interventions from lab to land for empowering the farming community. The technology should be disseminated to farmers in the most simple and adoptable manner, said the Minister directing the officers to organize awareness programmes on regular basis.
While inspecting Govt. Grape Farm, the Minster asked the officers of the department to prepare a plan for tapping local potential and exploring the option of exporting local variety of fruits. Fencing of the farm should be done, besides making proper pathways in the farm, he added.
Meanwhile, Vice Chairman, State Advisory Board for Welfare and Development of Scheduled Castes Bhushan Lal Dogra asked the progressive farmers to come forward and take optimum benefit of PMFBY and other state and centrally sponsored welfare schemes for farmers.
Director Horticulture while giving an overview of the functioning of the department informed that presently an area of 12289.68 hectare is under fruit cultivation with annual estimated production of 30064.66 metric ton during the year 2017-18. He also informed about the department nurseries at Maralia, Raipur, Rakhwalla and Misherwalla.