Minister for Horticulture, Syed Basharat Bukhari today said the Government is committed to enhance the productivity and revamp horticulture sector of the State by formulating Horticulture Policy which will act as roadmap to achieve these objectives.
The Minister said this while chairing the meeting of Expert Committee for formulating State Horticulture Policy. Members of the Expert Committee including Secretary Horticulture Department, Mohammad Hussian Malik, VC SKUAST Kashmir, Dr. Nazeer Ahmad, Former VC YS Parmer University of Horticulture & Forestry, Solan Dr. R P Awahisti, Ex Director CITH Dr Abdul Ahad Sofi, Head, Food Security & Agri Business, UPL Group, Vijay Sardana and Head Division Fruit Science SKUAST Jammu Dr. V.K Wali attended the meeting.
The Committee will draft a comprehensive policy for 25-30 years and suggest short and long term, pre and post harvest measures to increase quality and productivity per hectare while suggesting appropriate technological interventions and human resource development to meet the local, national and international demand while safeguarding the interest of growers to increase their income.
The Minister said the Horticulture industry can change the fortunes of not only the farming community but the entire State with its cascading benefits. He said the sector currently contributes nearly Rs 6000 Crore to State’s economy but it has capacity to contribute nearly Rs 30,000 Crore.
The Minister said 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 25-30 years.
The Minister said the Expert Committee has been mandated to assess the potential of Horticulture sector, keeping in view the available land under old and senile orchards in different geo-climatic conditions.
Bukhari said the Committee will also assess the impact of national commitment to World Trade Organization (WTO) regime on Horticulture sector and suggest appropriate measures to protect the interests of grower by staying competitive in the national and international markets.
The Minister said the Committee will draft the policy, keeping in view the growing GDP per capita income and future demand viz-a-viz consumption of fruit in the country as well as in the international market.
He also stressed that in order to improve the yield and cut the losses, the Department should work together with farmers for promoting the use of new technologies and better farming practices.
Bukhari stressed that traditional varieties of Apple like Amburr, Malmohi, Kiser, Razaqwar and Golden Delicious should be also promoted and persevered, besides developing proper infrastructure for storage of fruits in and across the State.
The meeting was also attended by Director Horticulture Kashmir Mathora Masoom and other administrative officials.