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Horticulture deptt launches new scheme to improve high-density apple production

Post by Syeda Rafiyah on Thursday, December 22, 2022

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Srinagar, Dec 21: The Horticulture Department Kashmir has launched a new scheme “High-Density Plantation Scheme 2022” for the development of apple fruit plantation of nurseries through private entrepreneurs.
Under the new scheme, the Horticulture Department has invited expressions of interest from entrepreneurs to set up apple fruit plant nurseries and issued guidelines for the same.
Abdul Quds Beigh, Horticulture Development Officer said the scheme is aimed to develop plants of high-density apple varieties locally which will help the local farmers.
“Currently, if we get high-density plants from outside these need to quarantined for some time. But once we develop it locally, farmers don’t need to go through that exhaustive process. It is aimed for development of high-density apple nurseries in the valley,” he said.
The officer said it encourages nursery growers by providing them genuine root stock, available with the department at subsidized rates or provide them incentive for import of rootstock.
As per the guidelines of the scheme, the minimum area available with perspective nursery grower should be 1 hectare of fallow land. “The land should be in the name of prospective entrepreneur or must possess valid lease rights of the land for a period of not less than 10 years,” it said.
Each prospective nursery grower shall have to establish a colonial multiplication block for rootstock, progeny mother orchard block and a block for production quality planting material.
“The entrepreneur must furnish a certificate to the effect that he shall establish a progeny orchard and shall grow the varieties, cultivars specified by SKUAST-K/Department,” it said.
The production of the planting material/multiplication of rootstock shall strictly be undertaken by the nursery grower under the close supervision of Department or Nursery Registration Officer (NRO).
“The entrepreneur shall have to label the plants produced, after framing the availability statements for each nursery under the supervision of the NRO,” it said.
The nursery grower can obtain identified rootstock from the Department of Horticulture/SKUAST-K/ or import from outside the country.
“The Apple rootstock (M9, MM-106 and MM-111), produced at Government/Departmental nurseries/farms, will be supplied to the prospective nursery growers on subsidized rates (50%) for clonal propagation and production of quality plants under the close supervision of Department/NRO,” reads the guidelines.
In case the nursery grower imports the rootstock, the department will provide assistance 50% of the cost, not exceeding the amount of assistance being provided on rootstock supplied by the department.
“The assistance shall only be released after the nursery grower furnishes the certificate issued by the competent authority and shall abide the guidelines.”
“The nursery grower shall import the identified rootstock from reputed nurseries, rootstock must carry necessary virus free, phytosanitary and true to type certificates, release order from Customs Department and Directorate of Plant Protection and Quarantine Authorities,’’ the guidelines said.
The growers shall have to maintain proper account of rootstock produced and sold and grow plants under guidance of the Horticulture Department.
It added that horticulture can play a great role in improving the socio-economic status of people by providing employment opportunities to rural masses. The diversified agro-climatic conditions of the J&K support cultivation of a wide range of fruit crops.
The new scheme is aimed to enhance quality production and productivity of the fruits and to make available quality and genuine plant material at optimum rates to farmers.
It is also aimed to reduce/restrict the import of planting material in order to save foreign exchange. It will also reduce the risk of invasion of foreign pests/diseases and would generate employment opportunities.
J&K is blessed with a diverse climate suitable for cultivation of a number of fruit crops. Horticulture is an age-old enterprise but commercial horticulture has been of recent origin.
The horticulture sector contributes around 10 percent towards UT GDP with more than 10000 Crore annual returns. There are 7.5 lakh farming families (35 lakh souls) directly or indirectly linked to this important sector.

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