SRINAGAR: Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha today launched Market Intervention Scheme (MIS)-2020 for Apple here at Horticulture Complex, Raj Bagh.
Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor refuted the media reports and assured that no agricultural land would be alienated to any non-residents of J&K. However, for industrial investment and employment opportunities, non-agricultural land would be optimally utilized, he added.
He observed that Horticulture is one of the priority sectors of J&K due to its unique agro-climatic diversity, which makes it ideal for varied cultivation.
The Horticulture sector, in particular, has an immense growth potential and the J&K Government is making all out efforts to tap the potential in order to give a fillip to the socio-economic condition of all those who are associated with the sector and contribute to the betterment of livelihood of Apple Growers, he added.
The Lt Governor observed that the objective of the newly launched MIS is to facilitate the stakeholders by providing optimum prices to the growers in the region during the peculiar situation arising out of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) is a great relief for apple growers. It will provide a comprehensive insurance cover against any obstacle thus helping in stabilizing the income of the Apple farmers”. The scheme was launched for the first time in the history of J&K during September-2019 and was widely appreciated by the growers across J&K and therefore, the Government agreed to extend it to this year also, he added.
This scheme will make way for procurement of 12 Lakh MT of apples which will not only ensure profitability to the apple growers but at the same time, it will also create rural employment through supplementary services such as packaging, transportation etc. The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister has also allowed NAFED to utilize Government Guarantee of Rs. 2,500 Crore. The losses, if any, to be incurred in this operation will be shared between the Central Government and UT administration of J&K on 50:50 basis, said the Lt Governor.
The Market Intervention Scheme will provide a valuable marketing platform to the growers, besides ensuring remuneration prices of apples and protect the Apple growers from making distress sale. NAFED is going to collect the apples from the growers and make the payment directly into the accounts of the growers through DBT. It will also address all issues related to marketing and transportation, in addition to providing optimum returns to apple growers, which will go a long way in expanding the horizon of this sector in J&K, the Lt Governor maintained.
Government has also laid a robust mechanism to provide assistance and necessary handholding to the fruit growers to ensure that they get the effective market place and right price for their produce, he added.
The Lt Governor expressed his gratitude towards the Prime Minister and the Union Cabinet for approving Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) for procurement of apples in the Union Territory.
The Lt Governor asked the MD NAFED to increase their investment in Horticulture infrastructure from proposed Rs 100 cr to Rs 500 cr to give a substantial push to the development of horticulture sector in J&K.
Horticulture-Agriculture is a major industry in the UT and around 70 percent of J&K’s population is connected with the sector. We had released an excess of Rs 680 crore for augmentation of Agriculture and Horticulture sectors so that better marketing and innovative farming techniques are incorporated by the producers. All the government’s efforts are aimed at increasing the income of farmers and fruit growers.
The government is helping farmers and fruit growers with hybrid and exotic fruit seeds and mechanization. It is the need of the hour to upgrade and update our horticulture sector to help us contribute to the economy and help generate more employment avenues, he continued.
The Lt Governor also called upon the farmers to set up Controlled Atmosphere Storage Plants with the help of 50% subsidy provided by the UT government. He underlined the importance for linking the UT’s fruit and vegetable mandis to National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Platform.
Speaking on the Prime Minister’s ambition on doubling the farmers’ income; the Lt Governor laid special emphasis on promoting high density plantation of apples to increase the production in order to achieve three to four times returns for the growers.
It is our goal to cover 355 hectares of land for high density apple plantation. We have also decided to convert another 1500 hectare land for high density apple plantation, he added.
The Lt Governor said that other policies for more investment in apple cultivation, expansion of satellite markets and provision of high density rootstock are also being framed.
We have to become a market leader in the horticulture sector and the entire government machinery would ensure that the dream is fulfilled soon, said the Lt Governor.
Promoting J&K’s Horticulture and Agriculture produce to the global platform; official stall of J&K will also be displayed in the upcoming Dubai Food festival, he added.
On the occasion, the Lt Governor also distributed certificates to the farmers for their achievements in Buyers-Sellers meet and other certificates under various departmental schemes.
Speaking on the occasion, BVR Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary said that Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) for Apples is only for Jammu and Kashmir providing optimum returns to apple growers of the UT.
Being the Fruit Capital of India, special focus has been laid for the growth and development of fruit production in J&K and the High Density plantation will lead to the production of 60 Lakh MT, which is a significant increase from the present 20-22 Lakh MT produce, he added.
It was informed that registration was available both online as well as on offline mode. Necessary infrastructure and facilities have been created at the designated Collection Centres for smooth operationalization of the scheme. Senior-level functionaries from the Horticulture Department will be monitoring and supervising the procurement at the Mandis.
Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, Advisor to the Lt Governor; Sh. BVR Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary, Navin Kumar Choudhary, Principal Secretary to the Government, Agriculture/Horticulture, & Cooperatives department; Sanjeev Kumar, Managing Director, NAFED ; Pandurang K. Pole, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir; Dr. Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar and other senior officers were present on the occasion.
Dr. Hina Shafi Bhat, Vice Chairperson, Khadi and Village Industries Board (KVIB) was also present.