Srinagar: Horticulture is turning out to be the mainstay of our rural economy. The state has earned a name as far as horticulture sector goes. No wonder then that the year 2017 was observed as the ‘Year of Apple’.
The move was initiated by the government to integrate the State’s prime fruit crop as one of the tourist attractions and ensure its better brand building and marketing on professional lines.
Though a lot of work needs to be done to promote this Industry which fetches revenues in abundance a multi-pronged approach needs to be adopted for ensuring brand building and marketing of the apple crop to integrate it as a tourism product.
Promotion of this industry however, needs to be done on scientific and professional lines. The government should ensure to enhance the production and productivity of quality apple fruit crops in the State to compete in the national and international markets with highest employment opportunities in horticulture sector.
Besides, better marketing practices of horticulture produce of the State should be put in place for building a strong brand and motivating young generation of the state to become part of the highly lucrative horticulture sector.
However, the government also needs to stress on developing proper infrastructure for storage of fruits and establishment of Plant Health clinics across the state. Besides, the possibility for establishing more testing labs and fruit packaging units needs also to be explored. This will ensure that young entrepreneurs will feel attracted to this sector and turn it into a well organised industry.
Though the government is also working to set up high density apple plantation in the state, the move is still at a nascent stage and there are various hiccups which the scheme still faces. The scheme being a game changer for the horticulture industry the incentives offered for gets this implemented on a large scale need to be worked out better.
The departments like Horticulture, research institutions and various financial Institutions which are involved in getting the scheme establish need to adopting a convergent approach to popularize the scheme among the farmers.
The financial institutions need to simplify the process of subsidy in case of farmers opting for the schemes to cut down the delays and difficulties. The scheme has to be incentive based so that the growers are attracted to the scheme in a much organised and large scale.
Apple is an important cash crop of the state. About 78 percent of horticulture which is spread across 48 percent of the area of the state is witnessing cultivation of the apple crop.
Though the high density yield variety is being introduced from the past several years now till now only 72.5 hectares of orchard land has been brought under the high yield plantation. This needs to be addressed as the convertion to this new yield should have been much better when compared to the achieved results.