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High-density plantation achieved on 5000 kanals of land: Dir Horticulture
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High-density plantation achieved on 5000 kanals of land: Dir Horticulture

With a total area of around 164000 hectares under cultivation, the Horticulture sector is the backbone of Jammu and Kashmir’s economy. Over 35 lakh people are directly associated with this sector and is the largest employment generating sector. As such

Post by on Saturday, April 10, 2021

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With a total area of around 164000 hectares under cultivation, the Horticulture sector is the backbone of Jammu and Kashmir’s economy. Over 35 lakh people are directly associated with this sector and is the largest employment generating sector. As such the role of the Horticulture department to formulate and implement policies and programmes aimed at achieving rapid growth of the horticultural sector is of critical significance to Union Territory of J&K. To discuss the Horticulture department’s role in ensuring increase in productivity of horticultural crops, Rising Kashmir’s Business Correspondent Misabah Bhat spoke exclusively to Director Horticulture Kashmir, Ajaz Ahmad Bhat.


 Q: Can you give us the production breakup of horticulture produce?

A: The production of dry fruits and fresh fruits varies. The total production for fresh fruits is 2109549 Metric Tonnes and 2371223 Metric tonnes of dry fruits.


The production is as follows:

• For Apples it is 19 Lakh Metric Tonnes (MTs)

• For Pears it is 70,000 MTs

• For Apricots it is 10,000 MTs

• For Peaches it is 7,000 MTs

• Plum production is 11,000 MTs

• For Cherries it is 16,000 MTs

• For Grapes it is 1,000 MTs

• Walnut’s production is more than 2.5 Lakh MTs

• Almonds it is 8,000 to 10,000 MTs


In total, we produce 24 to 25 Lakh Metric tonnes of dry fruits and fresh fruits which in addition to above mentioned fruits also include Pomegranates, small yield of Kiwi fruit and olives too.


To increase productivity of apple from present level to 40MTs, the department has initiated a massive drive on a high density plantation program.


Q: What are the latest schemes for different horticulture activities?

A: We have various major schemes which are under Capex Budget, Mission for Integrated Development (MID) which is sponsored and funded by the Government of India and PMDG, Prime Minister’s Development Programme.

We also have some small schemes from the department of Agriculture.



Q: What are the post-harvest management cold store schemes?



A: In post-harvest management, we have a number of schemes for making jams and juices besides walnut processing and establishment of cold stores.

In food processing, the department provides subsidies up to Rs 4 crores.

In cold stores, the government of India funds around Rs 10,000 per MT and Rs 14,520 from the UT government. In addition to that, we also give incentives upto Rs 13 lakhs on purchase of a reefer van. 


Q: What is the present total capacity of cold stores and how many more are needed?

A: The introduction of the schemes has led to development of a cold store network in Kashmir. 

The present capacity of our cold stores is 1.70 lakh MTs. We have around 20 units with each unit having capacity of 5,000 MTs, some have capacity of 3,000 MTs but most of them have 5,000 MTs capacity.

These stores are located at various places such as Industrial Growth Centre (IDC), Lassipora; Industrial Estate, Aglar; Sopore and Anantnag.

Many more units are also in the pipeline who have already submitted their Detailed Project Projects (DPRs). 

We should ideally have 4 lakh MTs of cold storage capability and 52 cold store units. We are hoping for more investment in it.


Q: What about food processing like jam making etc?


A: We have a canning unit here in Lal Mandi, Srinagar where we train 30-40 people in a 6-month course, two courses in a year. There they are taught everything about how canning works. And if someone wants to start a small unit, we give them a subsidy of Rs 1-1.5 Lakhs be it a jam making unit, pickle making or sauce making. If one wants to go for a big unit, we have MID (Mission for Integrated Development for Horticulture) under which they can avail a subsidy of up to Rs 4 Crores.



Q: Is the department introducing new varieties to compete with global markets?

A: The government is working on export policy for promotion of horticulture products and has introduced many different varieties in Apple, Cherry, Pear, Peach, Walnut, Almond, Apricot and Plum.

 In almonds we have bought a new variety from Italy called “Tuono”, which we will try to increase its farming on a mass level. 

Similarly, in walnuts we are introducing an Italian variety called “Chandler”. We will try to graft Chandler here and hopefully start its farming too.

In apple, we have introduced Super Chief, Red Chief, Jeromine, Gala, Fuji, Kingroat, Granny Smith, Red Velox, etc.

In cherry, we are introducing Kordia, Regina, Lapins, and Schneiders, etc.  

In plum, we have introduced Stanley Prune, Hiromi Red, etc.

In pear, we have introduced Conference, Red William, Carmen, Abate fetel, Santa Maria, Red Comice.

In peach, we have introduced Nabby, Platimoon, Sauzee.

In apricot, Mayacot Flopria, Orange Rebis have been introduced.


Q: What is the update on the recent MoU signed with Lulu group?

A: We have recently entered into a MoU with Lulu Group from UAE, in which our aim is to brand our products as per the foreign market regulations and standards so that our produce develops its different identity in the market. 

We are also expecting a visit from the head of Lulu group Mr. MA Yusuff Ali this month. 

He has expressed interest in generating employment avenues here and setting up of post/pre-harvest units specifically in cold stores and food processing. And right now, the government is working on export policy on chartered flights and shipping so as to export our produce easily. Government is also thinking about incentivising growers to export their produce.


We also exported around 400 MTs after recent MoU with multinational companies like Lulu Group.



Q: What is the market size of local horticulture produce?

A: The local market is in good shape; we have a number of mandis here. We have mandis in almost every district headquarter plus we have a recent big mandi in Jablipora, Anantnag. 

We are looking to expand the mandi sizes in accordance with increased production that we expect in the years to come.


Q: What is the minimum investment required for small size orchards?

A: We used to have a minimum requirement of 3 Kanals of land, but that has now lowered to 1 Kanal only. So, one can start a high-density orchard on 1 Kanal land. The cost, excluding land investment and which is around Rs 2 lakh per kanal on which the government provides subsidy of Rs 1 Lakh.


Q: What are the minimum returns for an entrepreneur of this small size investment?

A: The returns are handsome. If you go out and talk to a few entrepreneurs in this field, you will get a very good idea. 

Firstly, the government gives them subsidies, like 50% subsidy in food processing. 

They are supported in branding and prioritised in marketing.


There is now single window registration for Udyam. There is a rigorous effort to make the whole registration process hassle-free and quick.




Q: Are there any plans for utilising undulated, barren lands?

A: We are trying to plant more and more stone fruits in these lands’, plants like Almonds, Walnut, and Apricots. These grow nicely in barren land, and do not require much irrigation or pesticides.

We have distributed around Rs 13.5 lakh such saplings to households for them to plant in their backyards and such under-backyard horticulture scheme.

With fruit growing in their own homes these households will relieve the pressure on produce and that produce can in turn be exported.







Q: What would be your message for farmers and people involved in horticultural activities?


A: The farmers should know what government schemes are. They should take a break from traditional methods and take up high-density methods. They should develop their own nurseries and we will help in that. 

Wherever our support, our advice, our guidance is required we will be available.

Public can mail us kashmirhorticulture@gmail.com

 Website, http://Hortikashmir.gov.in

Helpline.0194-2311287, 2311484

A strict vigil on sale of pesticides, insecticides and fertilizers, sampling and inspection be done by Horticulture, agriculture, enforcement and SKUAST.  

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