SRINAGAR: Secretary to Government, Horticulture Department, Manzoor Ahmad Lone recently held a review meeting of horticulture sector Kashmir here at the Directorate of Horticulture Kashmir. Director Horticulture, Ajaz Ahmad Bhat, Joint Director Horticulture Kashmir and all the chief horticulture officers of Kashmir valley as well as Ladakh also attended the meeting.
On the occasion, Director Horticulture Kashmir, Ajaz Ahmad Bhat highlighted the details of all schemes and component-wise progress recorded in the last financial year. The director highlighted the importance of horticulture sector which contributes about 8% of the GDP, an official handout read.
Director horticulture said that horticulture is one of the largest employment generation sectors, as one hectare of orchard generates about 400 mandays per year, besides it also helps other sectors like transport, pesticides, fertilisers, marketing, transportation to grow. Bhat informed in the meeting that 24.30 lakh MT has been recorded during 2017-18 in the state out of which 21.61 lakh MT has been produced in Kashmir division.
Director informed that work on Centre of Excellence being established at Zawoora Srinagar was going on at full pace and plantation of imported elite plant material shall be completed in the current month. The Centre of Excellence shall serve as a demonstration-cum-training centre for the orchardists of the Valley, besides fulfilling the need of plant material of high density apple, walnut, cherry, apricot, plum, pear, etc.
District-wise detail of expenditure on various GoI as well as state-sponsored schemes was presented and that the overall expenditure level was about 80%. The director informed that 300 solar dryers for Ladakh region were being established besides Centre of Excellence in Seabuckthorn at Leh. Farm Manager, ACHD Zainapora was directed to ensure the proper fencing of farm and to explore the possibilities for irrigation infrastructure for production of quality planting material, besides functioning of cold chamber, read the handout.
Secretary horticulture directed other line departments to utilise the funds judiciously and properly. He directed the horticulture department to complete the pending work of high density plantation in district Kupwara and Pulwama immediately.
The secretary also instructed to frame a committee with experts from the department and also from planning and marketing department to work the exact data of production based on the exports figures recorded at Lakhanpur Toll Plaza and local consumption of various fruits, it added.