SRINAGAR: Terming horticulture as the backbone of JK’s economy, the Minister for Horticulture, Syed Basharat Ahmed Bukhari Tuesday said that the sector had the potential to turnaround the socioeconomic profile of Jammu & Kashmir, read an official press note issued here.
He said the government was taking a “slew of measures to revamp and revitalize the horticulture sector” with some innovative initiatives in the offing.
The minister said this during a surprise visit to the Directorate of Horticulture Kashmir, Directorate of Horticulture Planning & Marketing and Jammu and Kashmir Horticultural Produce Marketing Processing Corporation Ltd (JKHPMC).
Secretary Horticulture Mohammad Hussain Malik and other officers of the concerned departments accompanied the minister.
According to the statement, Bukhari inspected various sections in and around the directorate including Soil and Leaf Testing Laboratory, Mobile Soil Testing Lab, Kissan Ghar, High Density Plantation, Meeting Halls and Guest House.
A team of experts at Soil and Leaf Testing Lab gave a live demo of various tests conducted in the lab to track the health conditions of soil and plantation.
The minister said that horticulture industry had the capacity “to change the fortunes” of not only the farming community but of the entire State with its cascading benefits. He said, “Currently horticulture sector of the state produces 600 metric tons of fruit but it has potential to produce 50,000 metric tons.”
He also said that the government was committed to realize the objectives “to enhance the production and productivity of quality horticulture produce” in the State and with the adoption of high-density plantation, the economic returns of farmers as well as of the State were sure to shoot up.
“The department is taking measures to draw forward-looking roadmaps through perspective planning for improving quality and production of horticulture crops by integrated implementation of viable, eco-friendly, validated and refined technologies, besides preparing a visionary document in the form of a Horticulture Policy for next 20 years,” further read the document.
He said that the current year would be observed as the ‘year of apple’ and stressed for adopting multi pronged approach for ensuring better yield and minimizing post harvest losses.
“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,” stressed Bukhari.
He impressed upon the growers to “come forward and avail full benefits of various government sponsored schemes”, which he said with proper implementation, would “revolutionize the horticulture industry in the State”.
“Avail the facilities from the departmental functionaries to boost your produce,” he asked the growers.
As per the handout, the minister directed the concerned officials for “judicious use of funds” and urged them “not to compromise on quality of work”.
“Conduct frequent field visits and redress the issues and grievances of the growers on priority,” the minister asked the officers.
He also impressed on taking “appropriate measures for beautification, renovation and sanitation in and around the directorate premises”.