Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today asked farmers to take to high density varieties of fruit trees which could increase the turnover of horticulture in the state from present Rs 4,000 crore to Rs 20,000 crore in next five years.
High density planting means to increase the plant population per unit area for increasing the production of fruit crops.
“If only 20 per cent of our orchards take up high density farming over the next five years, the Rs 4,000 crore industry
will expand five times to a staggering Rs 20,000 crore,” she said during the discussion on demand for grants of
Horticulture and Floriculture Departments in the Assembly here.
She said fruit growers need to shift to high density plantation as the move will open up new vistas of employment
and income generation for nearly six lakh youth over the next 15 years.
“Government will diversify horticulture and floriculture activities by adopting newer techniques and best practices to
survive the onslaught of emerging markets in and outside the country,” she said.
Asking the farmers to help make Kashmir the “Fruit Valley of the World”, Mehbooba said her government was working through a multifaceted strategy to change the dynamics of horticulture and floriculture sectors to ensure quality production and better returns.
The Chief Minister said the new generation of horticulturists and floriculturists should create a unified online marketing facility where they would directly sell their produce to the buyers in any part of the country and the world
to earn good returns.
Mehbooba said the sector offers immense economic opportunities for the people, especially the educated youth who, with the help of latest communication techniques, can give a global face to the state’s horticulture and floriculture produce.
Referring to the “difficult times” the Valley went through in the past two and a half decades, the Chief Minister credited the fruit growers in horticulture sector and craftsmen in the handicraft industry for sustaining the
state’s budding economy.
The PDP leader said as per the official records,14.79 lakh tonnes of fresh and dry fruit valued at about Rs 6,000 crore were exported from the state during 2015-16 and that the area under fruits has increased from 2.95 lakh hectares in 2007-08 to 3.57 lakh hectares in 2015-16.
The Chief Minister said two Centres of Excellence each on vegetable production and horticulture will be established in the state.