Terming horticulture as the backbone of JK’s economy, the Minister for Horticulture, Syed Basharat Ahmed Bukhari, today said that the sector has the potential to turnaround the socioeconomic profile of Jammu & Kashmir. He said the Government is taking a slew of measures to revamp and revitalize the Horticulture sector with some innovative initiatives in the offing.
The Minster said this during a surprise visit to the Directorate of Horticulture Kashmir, Directorate of Horticulture Planning & Marketing and JKHPMC.
Secretary Horticulture Mohammad Hussain Malik and other officers of the concerned Departments accompanied the Minister.
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 live demo of various testes conducted in the lab to track health conditions of soil and plantation.
The Minister said that horticulture industry has 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 said that the Government is committed to realize the objectives to enhance the production and productivity of quality horticulture produces in the State and with the adoption of high-density plants the economic returns of farmers as well as of State are sure to shoot up.
Bukhari said that 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
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. He also 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.
Bukhari impressed upon the growers to come forward and avail full benefits of various Government sponsored schemes, which he said with the proper implementation would revolutionize the horticulture industry in the State. He asked the growers to avail the facilities from the Departmental functionaries to boost their produce.
The Minister 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 growers on priority.
He also directed concerned to take appropriate measures for beautification, renovation and sanitation in and around the Directorate premises.