Kulgam: To improve the grading of the apple fruit so that growers are able to get the desired price for their produce, the Minster for Horticulture, Syed Basharat Ahmad Bukhari today launched the Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) here.
The Minister was accompanied by Vice Chairman, Horticulture Development Board, Abdul Salam Reshi, MP Nazir Ahmad Laway and MLA Kulgam Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami.
Bukhari said that under this scheme, the Horticulture Department will buy the Grade-C apple (comprising of 33% of the produce) at the rate of Rs 10 per kilogram which will be then supplied to the fruit processing units. He said that this enable fruit growers to improve the grading qualities of their produce to fetch prices.
The District Development Commissioner informed. the Minister that 26300 hectares of land is cropped area out of which 19500 hectares is under fruit cultivation in the district. So far, 7 lac apple boxes were exported to different parts of India from the Fruit Mandi Kulga. He apprised the Minister that about the status of transporting horticulture produces through Highway-44, besides need for establishing truck terminal at Brazloo to ensure hassle free movement of fruit carrying trucks.
The DDC sought the intervention of the minister in the introduction and proper execution of Fasal Bima Yojana and Prime Minister’s Krishi Sinchai Yojana in the district so that the growers can avail the benefits under the scheme. He also sought the intervention regarding value addition of the fruits and establishment of Cold Storage facility in the district.
The Minister directed the Chief Horticulture Officer to get the survey and study done in lower belt of Kulgam so that the reasons of less shelf life of the fruits can be ascertained.
The public representatives and the fruit growers presented memoranda to the minister regarding the issues including crop insurance policy, better marketing facilities, adequate funding to Jablipora fruit mandi, compensation to hailstorm-affected fruit growers, mass awareness and extensive soil testing facilities.
The Secretary Horticulture Department said that the sector has the potential of generation an income of Rs. 50000 crore annually but due to lack of proper perspective, the potential has not be fully tapped so far. He said that the government is very keen to develop ultra high and high density orchards in the district.
Bukhari said horticulture census has been completed by the department and on that basis policy on horticulture sector is being formulated. This policy shall serve as a guide regarding the interventions required for meeting the challenges for next 30 years. He said that a high level committee has been constituted to study the impact of climate change on the sector and what steps need to be taken to mitigate the ill effects of climate change and to undertake area mapping based on the suitability of crops.
He said that the department is embarking on developing online mandis, upgrading and modernizing the existing mandis, providing cold storage facilities, regular and sustained awareness camps and like initiatives.
To curb the supply of spurious pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers, the Minister that those involved in this practice will be booked under Public Safety Act for which necessary guidelines will be issued very soon.
The Minister exhorted upon the officers of the horticulture department to reach out to the grassroots level and educate the growers about the interventions required in ensuring the quality and quantity of the fruit.