Terms growers ‘heart’, traders ‘mind’ of horticulture sector
SRINAGAR: Terming farmer as ‘heart’ and trader ‘mind’ of horticulture sector, minister for horticulture, Syed Basharat Bukhari Monday said that the government has undertaken a holistic programme for ensuring the equitable and sustainable development of horticulture sector in the state.
The minister said this during his extensive tour to North Kashmir to review the functioning of Horticulture Department, an official press note issued here read.
Legislator Haji Abdul Rashid, Secretary Horticulture Mohammad Hussain Malik, Deputy Commissioner Baramulla Nisar Ahmad Naqash and other concerned officers accompanied the minister. The minister said that the government is committed to achieve the set 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 state were sure to shoot up.
He appreciated the Horticulture Department for conducting census of fruit plants which was held after a gap of three decades. He said, “It will help the department to effectively focus on area expansion programmes, rejuvenation of old and senile orchards, implementation of plant protection measures, strengthening of irrigation infrastructure, modernization of farm mechanization, capacity building of orchardists, propagating quality plant material, conservation for establishment of Fruit Processing and CA Storage under Post Harvest Management.”
Bukhari as per the official note further said that the Department was 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 30 years.
“The current year will be observed as the year of apple,” he added, stressing adoption of multi-pronged approach for ensuring better yield and minimizing post harvest losses.
According to the note, he directed for setting up of fruit testing lab, toilet complex, canteen, besides submitting DPR for establishing CA store in Sopore Mandi and overhead water tank in its premises. the minister also kick started macadamization work at Sopore Fruit Mandi and interacted with members of Kashmir Fruit Growers and Dealers Association to enquire about broader issues and problems faced by them and assured them of redressing all their genuine issues on priority. The minister also visited Kupwara Fresh and dry Fruit Mandi and gave on spot directions for making it functional.
Legislator Bashir Ahmad Dar, Deputy Commissioner Kupwara Khalid Jahangir, Director Horticulture Kashmir Rafiq Ahmad, Director Planning and Marketing Horticulture Hafizullah Shah and various officials of concerned departments accompanied the minister.
While, interacting with growers and traders, the minister said the government is committed to “expand the marketing activities for the fruit traders in every nook and corner of the state to improve their income strata”.
“Efforts are being made to procure the products of farmers from their doorsteps,” he said hoping the trading activities would boost the area and people would get good returns for their produce.
Describing Kupwara as ‘horticulture rich place’, the minister said that the government would explore uncovered areas and bring them under the ambit of horticulture cultivation. “Organize awareness camps in-collaboration with J&K Bank and Tourism Department for farmers at block level to educate them about horticulture and floriculture potential so that more and more people adopt these activities,” Bukhari directed the concerned. He also directed the concerned to deploy a team of experts to check infections affecting walnut in the area. The minister said that the department is going to introduce fluorescent stickers for hassle-free transport of fruit especially during winters.
Bukhari also inspected an orchard-cum-nursery at Chogul, Kupwara where he expressed satisfaction over the activities of the nursery and directed to “explore possibilities for developing latest varieties of different fruits conducive in the Valley environment”.
He took stock of kiwi, hazel nut, cherry, and strawberry, besides apple plantations and directed for identification of suitable land for organic farming initially on trial bases.
As per the press note, he later visited various high density plantation plots at Kupwara, Sopore and Model Hi-Tech Ultra High Density Project Pattan and directed the concerned for frequent inspections and timely assistance to growers for wHe also directed for opening a coffee shop and landscaping and beautifying Model Hi-Tech Ultra High Density Project Pattan for tourist attraction.