Minister for Horticulture, Syed Basharat Ahmed Bukhari, on Tuesday stressed the need of revamping and revitalizing the horticulture sector as it forms the backbone of the State’s economy.
The Minister was speaking at a high-level meeting he convened regarding Celebration of 2017 as ‘Apple Year’ as announced by the Chief Minister on the occasion of launch of High Density Plantation Scheme in February this year.
Vice Chancellor SKUAST Dr. Nazeer Ahmad, Secretary Horticulture Department Mohammad Hussian Malik, Secretary Tourism Farooq Ahmed Shah, Chairman J&K Bank Parvez Ahmed, Director Horticulture Kashmir Rafiq Ahmad and other officers of the concerned Departments attended the meeting.
On the occasion, the Minister urged J&K Bank, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST), Department of Horticulture and Department of Tourism to work jointly to provide requisite boost to the horticulture sector.
He directed the concerned to draw forward-looking roadmaps through perspective planning for improving quality and production of Horticulture crops by integrated implementation of viable, eco-friendly, validated and refined technologies. He further asked the officers to prepare a visionary document in the form of a Horticulture Policy for next 20 years
Bukhari stressed that traditional varieties of Apple like Amburr, Malmohi, Kiser, Razaqwar, and Golden Delicious be also promoted as well as high density apple plantation.
He said that Buyer’s and Grower’s conference to be held at Srinagar in collaboration with J&K Bank and Tourism Department would provide a forum for enhancing awareness, marketability opportunity among growers and traders.
He directed for framing a transparent system so that growers who produce quality crop would be awarded during the Apple Year.
The Minister also stressed on developing proper infrastructure for storage of fruits and establishment of Plant Health clinics across the state.
He said that the Department should explore the possibility for establishing more testing labs and fruit packaging units.He further directed the concerned for taking innovative and concrete measures for making all fruit related cooperative institutions functional.
He said that the government is committed to achieve the objectives 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 the sector.
Basharat Bukhari directed for encouraging and promoting concentrated Jam, jelly and apple juice produces and directed that the quality of the produce needs to be improved so that it so that can compete with the other States.
He stressed for proper grading, branding of the quality of the fruits and directed for organizing exhibitions in Srinagar, Jammu, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Calcutta, Chennai and Ahmedabad.
In order to manage the traffic system for trucks during the fruit season, the Minister directed for introduction of stickers for quick movement of the fruit which shall be displayed on wind screen of the trucks.