Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah Sunday emphasized the need of nurturing horticulture industry and the growers associated with it to nurture State’s economy. He said horticulture, handicrafts and tourism are the resourceful sectors in Jammu and Kashmir which can catapult financial status of the State and uplift the lot of the people associated with these sectors.
Addressing a function after laying foundation of a Controlled Atmosphere Storage and inaugurating a similar one established in private sector at Lassipora Industrial Estate, Omar said that Controlled Atmosphere Storage facility would help regulating the market and ensuring remunerative price for Kashmir horticulture produce.
Omar said setting up of infrastructure like Controlled Atmosphere Storages in the Valley and regulating the market by dispatching fruit as per the demand in the terminal markets would benefit growers in a larger extent. “This will also check the sudden fall in prices of fruit in the markets due to the glut”, he said.
Omar also laid stress on increasing per hectare production and productivity and said that as per present analysis report per hectare production of apple in the Valley is 9.5 tones as compared to 70 tones per hectare in Austria. He said the growers and Horticulture Department have to work together to work out a strategy of enhancing productivity. He said, if the per hectare production of fruit is raised up to 25 tones per hectare in the State, Jammu and Kashmir would be able to produce 35 lakh tones of apple annually. He said this would not only generate economic activities and jobs but help to strengthen the economy.
Talking about the craft of Kashmir, Omar said that Kashmir is famous throughout the World for its handicrafts, fruit and natural beauty. “But we lack in scientific marketing of fruit”. He said packaging, grading and quality maintaining are must to sell the produce in terminal markets on reasonable prices. He said Kashmir Apple could be exported anywhere in the world if its quality, packaging and presentation is up to the mark and at par with the international standards. He stressed the need of focusing on this aspect.
Omar said that Government has made agriculture sector all most tax free and various facilities and concessions are being provided to the growers to strengthen their economic activity. He said lift irrigation introduced by his Government on full subsidy to help growers to increase production is of significant importance. He asked the growers to take advantage of the scheme.
Emphasizing upon the local entrepreneurs, Omar said that local entrepreneurs are the persons who can revolutionize State’s economy adding that outside industrialists only come here to take benefits of concessions and subsidies, and when these end up the outside investors end up their units and leave the State. He said his Government has focused on nurturing locals to invest in the feasible fields and play an important part in the growth and development of the State’s economy.