Horticulture bulwark of economy

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India, Srinagar, October 14, 2011 (Scoop News) –   Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah Friday termed horticulture as bulwark of State’s economy adding that this sector provides significant succour to the development process and generation of employment for a large chunk of population directly and indirectly.

Reviewing development of horticulture at a joint meeting of high level officers and representatives of Jammu and Kashmir Fruit Growers and Traders Associations here, the Chief Minister said that strengthening of this sector would result in strengthening of the
economy of the State as a whole.

The meeting was attended by Minister for Horticulture, Sham Lal Sharma, Minister of State for Horticulture, Javid Ahmad Dar, Chief Secretary, Madhav Lal, Principal Secretary Agriculture, Iqbal Khandey, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, B. B. Vyas, Directors of Horticulture and Horticulture (P&M), various other senior officers and Presidents of different fruit growers and traders associations of the State.

Omar Abdullah said that attention was required to be focused both on the production of quality horticulture produce and its proper export to the terminal markets ensuring substantial returns to the fruit growers. He said while fruit markets in the State need to be upgraded, the adequate transport facilities and regulation of exports to outside markets also requires priority attention.

The Chief Minister called for facilitating quality pesticides and fertilizers to the orchardists emphasizing on popularizing modern techniques for enhancing fruit production and its scientific marketing.

Giving details of production and export of fresh and dry fruit from the State during last three years the Director Horticulture (P&M) informed the meeting that as against 17.12 lakh tonnes of fruit production in the State in 2009-10 the production during the current financial year was expected to be 19.25 lakhs tonnes. He said the export of fruit from the State during 2009-10 was to the tune of 9.57 lakh tonnes while in 2010-11 it stood at 11.12 lakh tonnes.

He said that the department is executing 25 fruit and vegetable markets in the State to enhance the marketing activities within the State and facilitate transhipment of fruit to the terminal markets.

The President Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Association, G. R. Wagey and President Jammu Fruit Association, Rajesh Gupta and the Presidents of various Fruit Markets of the Valley and Jammu briefed the Chief Minister about various issues fruit industry is confronted with in the State.

They talked about cold storage facilities, availability of packing material, crop insurance scheme, upgradation of fruit mandies, installation of testing laboratories for fungicides and pesticides, provision of planting material and root stocks for rejuvenating old orchards, processing of surplus fruit, blacktopping of markets, up to the mark water supply and sanitation facilities in mandies, maintenance of green belt parks and opening of health care units in the fruit mandies.

The Chief Minister heard the views of the representatives of fruit growers patiently and directed the concerned departments for looking into the issues positively.

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