SRINAGAR: Minister of State for Horticulture, Priya Sethi on Thursday said that government is making efforts to realize state’s potential for high quality apple production by introducing latest advancements like use of high density plants to bridge the gap between demand and supply, an official press note issued here said.
She said this while on a visit to high density apple orchards at Gulabbagh, Zakura and Bakoora in Ganderbal district where she reviewed the performance of the orchards with regards to productivity, quality, etc.
These orchards have been set up as part of the High Density Apple Plantation Scheme through private enterprise, a 100% state funded scheme formulated to achieve the objectives of enhanced production and productivity and raising the income of the farmers, the press note added.
The minister said that government is constantly “striving to bring in latest techniques and best practices to diversify horticulture sector, so that state’s produce can compete in national and international markets”.
Keeping in view the Year-2017 being celebrated as the “Year of Apple”, she said that with fruit growers shifting to high density orcharding which can produce five times as much produce as traditional farming, “the state will be able to produce promising export figures, therein reducing imports”. Besides, the farmers will also be able to get greater economic returns on their yield as “the produce from high density plants fetches better market prices”, the minister added.
According to the press note, the minister was informed that the high density plants are being imported from Europe and provided to local farmers at subsidized rates. Further, the apple variety being provided to farmers are in line with the demand patterns in the markets.
The high density plants have a low gestation period with plants producing fruits as early as the 2nd year.
Later, she also visited Model Vineyard Kral Bagh, Ganderbal to review the augmentation efforts being undertaken to support local grape production as part of government’s concerted efforts to boost horticulture production in the state.
During the visit, the minister was informed that Reepora and adjoining areas of Ganderbal district host favourable climatic conditions for grape production and is well known for its grape produce.
The minister undertook extensive tour of the vineyard which is spread over 67 Kanals and inspected the ‘Model Training Systems’ set up to impart technical training to grape growing orchardists and nurseries. Various commercial varieties including Sahibi, Hussaini, Kishmish, and Thompson seedless grapes are produced in the vineyard. Different designs of training systems for grape production like power, kniffing and telephone system have been used in the orchard and are used to demonstrate ‘model vineyard’ structure to grape growing orchardists besides imparting technical training to them, it further read.
Reviewing performance of the vineyard, the minister directed the department to “make full use of the land available and support the local grape orchardists”. She asked the department to make their nurseries viable to meet the increasing demand from people.
The minister also interacted with local apple and grape orchardists and enquired about their problems. Various issues regarding post harvesting such as, grading packaging and proper storage facilities were discussed and directions were passed on to look into the genuine demands of the farmers.