Khiram Sirhama is planned to be Kashmir first Model Apple Village

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SRINAGAR: With an investment of Rs 5 crore and involving a high level intervention on nearly 80 kanals of land, Bejbehara’s Khiram Sirhama is expected to be Kashir’s first model apple village. The concept was part of the state government budget, two years back.

Planted in May, crop in October but experts discourage harvest for initial two years.

An official spokesman said the state’s Revenue minister Abdul Rehman Veeri inaugurated the State’s first Model Apple Village at Khiram Sirhama in Bijbehara on Saturday.

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, packing training to farmers, the official spokesman said.

Minister urged the fruit growers to shift to high-density practices to enhance apple production for greater economic returns in the field. Speaking 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 can witness prospects of high-density apple orchards and use those better prospects here in Kashmir.

Recalling the interest of late Chief Minister 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 the orchardists of the Kashmir.

Veeri said that it is important to adopt newer techniques and best practices to survive the onslaught of emerging markets in and outside the country. 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.

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