Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh have decided to set up a joint group to address problems of the horticulture sector, a minister said here on Sunday.

“Joint Working Group (JWG) of hilly states, particularly J&K and HP would be set up and strengthened to address and give boost to the horticulture sector in Himalayan states,” Minister for Health, Horticulture and Floriculture, Sham Lal Sharma told reporters.

“JWG will also address problems of hilly States and seek redressal of horticulture issues,” he said, adding it was felt necessary to develop a joint strategy and appeal to the Centre for redressal of problems.

Mr. Sharma, who had a high-level meeting with HP Minister for Horticulture and Technical Education Narinder Bargta, said frequent interactions and exchange of technologies between States will be regular feature.

The ministers stressed on creation of appropriate water harvesting and water management sources in orchard areas. “The benefit of HP for setting up of water Management Board could be availed by J&K,” they said.

Initiative for protecting the fruit crops from hail storm by installing latest equipments like anti-hail storm guns shall be introduced on pilot basis.

Crop insurance programme will be launched and post harvest handling and cold chain management and procession will be the focus of both the states, they said.