Kashmir to observe 2017 as the ‘Year of Apple’

CM makes effort to promote the famed fruit in all markets

Published - February 18, 2017 11:01 pm IST - Srinagar

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday declared 2017 as ‘Year of Apple’ in a major bid to promote the famed Kashmiri apples in domestic and foreign markets.

The Chief Minister launched the High Density Apple Plantation Scheme in Srinagar. These high-density plants will be routed through J&K Bank along with the subsidy.

“Fifty per cent subsidy would be provided by the government to the farmers under the scheme,” said Ms. Mufti. The high density plants have a yield of 50-70 metric tonnes per hectare against 10-12 tonnes in case of conventional plants.

The government is setting up mega mandies and high-tech cold storage to promote apple industry. “These facilities would be be set up at Jablipora in Anantnag and Aglar in Pulwama in first stage, besides establishment of e-markets for the online sale of the produce,” said Ms. Mufti.

Direct interface

“The government has launched a Market Intervention Scheme to stabilise the rates of apple produce and benefit growers. A network of mandies is being laid to maximise direct interface between growers and buyers,” said Ms. Mufti, while asking the J&K Bank authorities to slash down interest rates on the credit to be given to farmers under the scheme.

Jammu and Kashmir is the largest apple producing State in India at 11.2 metric tonnes, which accounts for 71% of national production, according to official figures.

“Horticulture could be a game changer. It can generate employment. It can change the socio-economic profile of the State,” said Ms. Mufti.

She warned the companies against marketing spurious and sub-standard pesticides. “I have asked the police to impose Public Safety Act against those indulging in malpractices in the pesticide industry,” she added.

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