The State Government has decided to observe 2017 as the ‘Year of Apple’ to integrate the State’s prime fruit crop as one of the tourist attractions and ensure its better brand building and marketing on professional lines.
Minister for Horticulture, Syed Basharat Ahmed Bukhari chaired a high level meeting here today to take stock of various activities to be organized during the current year as part of the campaign to promote Apple as a tourism crop.
Minister of State for Horticulture, Ms Priya Sethi was also present in the meeting.
Speaking at the meeting, the Minister said a multi-pronged approach needs to be adopted for ensuring brand building and marketing of the apple crop to integrate it as a tourism product.
He asked the concerned Departments to prepare for the formal launch of the ‘Year of Apple’ campaign next month which will continue throughout the year. He said as a part of this programme a buyer-seller meet and an international conference on apple would be organized in Srinagar in September this year. He said intensive and extended awareness programmes would be launched within and outside the state for promotion of Kashmiri apple.
The Minister said that the government is committed to achieve the objectives to enhance the production and productivity of quality apple fruit crops in the State to compete in the national and international markets with highest employment opportunities in horticulture sector.
Bukhari stressed on better marketing practices of horticulture produce of the State, he said that 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 highly lucrative horticulture sector.
The Minster directed for launching publicity campaign and mass awareness camps for traders and growers regarding Apple Year celebrations.
The Minister directed concerned for indentifying model orchids on way to Pahalgam and Gulmarg to lure tourists.
Bukhari stressed that traditional varieties of Apple like Amburr, Malmohi, Kiser, Razaqwaar, and Golden Delicious be also promoted as well as high density apple plantation.
The Minister also stressed on developing proper infrastructure for storage of fruits and establishment of Plant Health clinics across the state. He said that the Department should explore the possibility for establishing more testing labs and fruit packaging units.
He stressed for proper grading, branding of the quality of the fruits and directed for organizing exhibitions in Srinagar, Jammu, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Calcutta, Chennai, Hyderabad and Ahmadabad.
In order to manage the traffic system for trucks during the fruit season, the Minister directed for introduction of special stickers for quick movement of the fruit which shall be displayed on windscreen of the trucks
He stressed for Buyer’s and Grower’s conference to be held at Srinagar in collaboration with J&K Bank and Tourism Department and the awareness camps be held for the growers and traders in all districts in collaboration with the SKUAST and Tourism Department.
On the occasion, MoS Priya Sethi said that the department should work together with farmers for promoting use of new technologies and better farming practices and assured that the Government will support the effort of the department to develop the Horticulture sector on modern lines.
She also emphasized upon the need to improve the productivity and profitability with value addition and employment generation. He provided valuable suggestions while highlighting the importance of Horticulture sector in the State.
Vice Chancellor SKUAST-K Dr Nazir Ahmad, Secretary Horticulture Department M H Malik, Secretary Tourism, Farooq Ahmed Shah, Vice-President J&K Bank, Director Horticulture Kashmir Rafiq Ahmad, Deputy Director Information (PR) Sheikh Zahoor and other officers of the concerned Departments attended the meeting.