Kashmir produced 1907787 metric tonnes of fresh fruits and 2102844 metric tonnes dry fruits during 2017-18 financial year contributing Rs 6500 crore annually to state’s economy.The total area under fresh fruits in Kashmir is 161631 hectares and total area under dry fruits is 214924 hectares, the official records reveal.Tasaduq Mueen, Nursery Registration Officer said that over 7 lakh families are directly or indirectly engaged with Horticulture Sector.“It is one of the vibrant sectors which contributes nearly 7% to the Gross State Domestic Production (GSDP) and has the potential in employment generation through the involvement of skilled and unskilled and professional human resource,” said Mueen.He said that the state is endowed with diversified agro-climatic attributes, which include temperature, sub-temperature, sub-tropical, cold arid zones. “A varying diversified fruit crops like apple, pear, apricot, walnut, almond, peach, mango, ber, lichi, etc are cultivated in state. Various activities of the department are funded through a slew of ‘Centrally Sponsored Schemes’ and complimented by State Sector plans,” he said.He said that the major contribution comes from the flagship programmes like Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) and Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP).There are many schemes under implementation for Development of horticulture in the state.“Area expansion, rejuvenation of old and senile orchards, disease and plant health management canopy management, soil health management, development of departmental nurseries, organic farming, creation of water sources, human resource development, protected cultivation, creation of water sources are the components for overall development of horticulture development,” he added.During 2015-16, about 2.22 lack clonal root stock have been imported from Netherlands at a cost of Rs. 1.72 crore and planted in the Advance Centre for Horticulture Development Zainapora during March 2016.During the year (2016-2017), 121000 fruit plants have been imported with the objectives to establish demonstration orchards in the public as well private sector for boosting the concept of high density farming system with higher rate of adaptation in the field.Prime Minister’s Development Package provides Rs. 529 crore for restoration of damaged Horticulture areas and development of Horticulture.Out of Rs.529 crore, Rs. 9 crore has been earmarked for cold storage facilities in Leh and Kargil and Rs.20 crore towards subsidy support for setting up of solar driers in the said districts.Mueen added that during the floods of September 2014, an area of 5200 hectors have come under its spell and fruit plants of all categories mostly apple have been damaged due to the fact that the area remained water logged for 5-6 months. “The area demands need of immediate restoration by way of replacement of trees and also soil treatment. The department plans to restore 75% of this area i.e.,3900 hectares in the first place,” he said.As regards restoration of damaged horticulture area and development of horticulture, we have drawn out following plan for an amount of Rs. 500 crore under Prime Minister Development package over a period of 3 years that started from 2016-2017.Rs.124.29 Crore in year 2016-17, Rs.190.73 Crore in 2017-18, Rs.184.98 Crore in 2018-2019.Mueen further added, now the Department has taken an initiative under the able leadership of Honorable Minister of Horticulture to conduct the fruit tree population census during the year 2017 which has been compiled and it will prove helpful for preparation of an effective developmental plan so as to ensure the advancement in Horticulture Sector.
June 6, 2018