New horticulture policy to build strong foundation for horticulture: Minister

JAMMU: Minister for Horticulture, Syed Basharat Ahmed Bukhari on Tuesday directed officers to draft a comprehensive plan for fruit nurseries detailing parameters for functioning, operational guidelines, management to ensure maximum benefit to fruit growers and farmers.
The minister said this while addressing a group of farmers from Akhnoor and Chamb area at an event organised by the department at Government Fruit Plant Nursery Garhi, Mishriwala, an official handout read.
The event was organised to flag off a tour group of framers of mango villages (Sungal and MallaBarode) of district Jammu for training outside state under the scheme CAPEX (Mango Village) 2017-2018.
Minister of State for Horticulture, Priya Sethi, MLA Chamb Krishan Lal Bhagat, MLA Akhnoor Rajeev Sharma, Director Horticulture Anuradha Gupta, Joint Director Horticulture Tarvinder Singh, besides other senior officers were present on the occasion.
The minister said that horticulture industry in the state has grown to contribute 8000 crore to the state economy, onus of which lies on the hard work of farmers, fruit growers.
He said, “Role of the department is only as a facilitator, to support these growers with timely interventions.” For this, a new horticulture policy is in pipeline that will “build a strong foundation for state horticulture” so that coming stakeholders can build on it, he added.
The minister while elaborating on the new policy said that it will take into account land strata for fruit production, requirements to account for changing weather and subsequent plantation patterns, besides considering varied topographical profiles into horticulture production in the state.
He also said that the government was committed towards streamlining and development of nurseries. In this regard, he directed the department to draft and submit a comprehensive nursery development plan at the earliest. He asked them to specify feeding areas for each nursery besides setting viable targets, land utilisation models.
The minister also directed the department to identify all nurseries with under-unutilised land and asked to take appropriate measures in this regard.
The minister asked for developing a visitor’s area at the Garhi Nursery comprising a cafeteria, sitting area, information center so that this nursery could be developed as Horti-tourism spot. He said that the local schools should be encouraged to visit here for educational-cum-recreational trips. He said that similar initiatives would be taken up at other such spots.
During the tour of the nursery, the minister while taking notice of underutilised land directed the department to undertake additional plantations, revive water well on the property.
The minister, addressing the farmers heading for the tour, asked them to “take this opportunity to learn about farming techniques being employed in these states and integrate these techniques in their local communities”. He also asked the concerned HDO accompanying the tour group to “submit a detailed report regarding the visit comprising details about their experience and new technical, logistical methods that they observe”.
Speaking on the occasion, Priya Sethi, legislators wished the farmers well for their training tour and asked them to “take maximum benefit of this opportunity to learn new ways to increase their productivity”.
The local MLAs put forth their demands including revival for nurseries in their areas, additional field staff, processing units for local produce, besides requested for increasing subsidies on tractors, water storage tanks, high density plants, bore wells, etc.
Responding to the demands, Bukhari said that the cap on tractors purchase has already been lifted to accommodate demands of farmers from Kandi belts. The rest of the demands would be taken up and looked into on priority, he added.