The Department of Horticulture organized a 10th Mega Awareness Camp training camp in Arhama, Shopian on Saturday to reach out to the farmers. The camp took place as part of Good Governance Week and as part of “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav” on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of Indian independence.
General Director of Horticulture, Kashmir, Ajaz Ahmad Bhat was the feature’s main guest while Shopian was the guest of honor as District Development Commissioner.
In its address, DG Horticulture elaborated on the various centralized and UT-funded programs offered by the department, highlighted the various components of these programs and advised farmers to take advantage of these programs.
Regarding post-harvest management, the GD announced that the department has various initiatives like setting up walnut peeling plants, sorting / packing lines, low cost processing plants, etc.
He also assured that a special focus would be placed on organic farming and that worm composting plants were being set up on a large scale, especially in tribal areas. He further estimated that about 3 lakh Apple Colonal rootstocks imported from the Netherlands were successfully transplanted and further propagated in the district at the Advanced Center for Horticulture Development (ACHD), Zainpora.
He also said an almond nursery is being set up at the Zainpora fruit nursery in the district to revive declining almond production.
DG Horticulture also announced that the Shopain district is being developed as a cluster district for apples as part of the Horticulture Cluster Development Program (CDP) and that JKHPMC has been nominated as the Cluster Development Agency.
Regarding the threat posed by the cultivation of narcotic crops in different parts of the district, DG assured that the ministry will work out a more profitable plant replacement program and will also provide material and technical support for farmers to grow alternative horticultural crops such as the HD apple orchard.
Regarding the amended high-density plantation program, he said a target area of ââ5,500 hectares in the UT will be covered and encouraged farmers in the area, particularly fringe and small-scale farmers, to come forward and take advantage of the program.
He further stated that in addition to apples, other fruit crops such as cherry, pear, plum and walnut-almond etc. can be grown and that at least 01 and a maximum of 20 canals of land are covered per beneficiary.
He added that moving to high density plantation is the only way to increase production, productivity and compete with the international market.
In the end, the General Director thanked all participants and said that there will be more such camps in the area. He also gave on-site instructions to the Chief Horticulture Officer to reach out to the farming community by organizing awareness camps, particularly in tribes and in distant areas of the district.
In addition, Chief Horticulture Officer, Shopian, the camp was visited by Raja Ab, a member of the District Development Council (DDC). Waheed, President of the Shopian Fruit Growers Association Mr. Shabir Peer, Mr. Adnan Ali an innovative fourth generation farmer and various PRI members.