Bijbehara gets first Model Apple Village
ANANTNAG: Minister for Revenue, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, Abdul Rehman Veeri on Saturday inaugurated the State’s first Model Apple Village at Khiram Sirhama in Bijbehara.
The major components of the Model Apple Village include a shift from traditional to high-density apple plantation, digging of borewells, construction of sheds in orchards, rejuvenation of old and saline orchards with new varieties, providing farm machines like tractors weeders, sprayers, setting up of juice preservation plant, grading and packing training to farmers, an official handout read.
District Development Commissioner Anantnag, Muhammad Younis Malik, Director Horticulture Kashmir, Deputy Director Horticulture Muhammad Yousuf Dar and other senior officers were also present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, the minister urged the fruit growers to “shift to high-density practices to enhance apple production for greater economic returns in the field”.
Speaking further about the prospects of high-density apple orchards in the state, the minister said that “it will change the economic profile of Kashmir”.
He also asked the officers to “send some orchardists of the area to foreign tours” where they could witness the prospects of high-density apple orchards and use those better prospects here in Kashmir.
Recalling the interest of late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed in the high-density plantation, the minister said that he was very keen to introduce high-density apple plantation in the valley for better economic prospects for Kashmir orchardists.
Veeri said it is important to adopt newer techniques and best practices to survive the onslaught of emerging markets in and outside the state.
He stressed on the farmers to “adopt better grading, packing practices for selling the product at better rates in the competitive marketing world”.
The horticulture department will set up this Model Apple Village on a pilot basis and will initially cover 80 kanals of land in the village at a cost of Rs 5 crore, the handout read.
Deputy Director Horticulture Kashmir, Muhammad Yousuf Dar said that they were hopeful of the success of the project and would be replicated in all apple producing areas in future as well.
He said demo plants would be set up in the village where orchardists and horticulture department would have regular interaction during the development of high-density apple, the handout further read.
Veeri also distributed subsidy cheques among orchardists for the purchase of various machines, on the occasion.
The inauguration ceremony coincided with the awareness camp regarding high-density plantation for the orchardists of the area.