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Boost for horticulture

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Jammu and Kashmir is all set to have its very own Horticulture policy. A demand which was raised a thousand times by all those who are involved with the horticulture sector. The aim to have a full fledged policy is to boost economy and upgrade the horticulture infrastructure.

The Horticulture Policy will be focusing to increase production and tackling climate change, given the unique temperature of this place. Though the finalization of the document will take some time but as of now the policy has been drafted and it has gone for the comments to all the stakeholders.

The proposed policy would suggest appropriate technological interventions human resource development to meet the national nutrition requirements, international competition and safeguard the interest of growers and increase in their income.

 Jammu and Kashmir and especially, Kashmir region is dependent for its earnings on only a few sectors. One such key sector is the horticulture and related activities.

However, this sector is witnessing mounting losses over the years as the produce achieved in the agricultural sector including horticulture is not able to reach to its destination on time.

The framing of a new policy would give us a way forward as to how we can aim at increasing horticulture revenue from current Rs 8000 to Rs 50000 crore a year.

For ensuring this the farmers need to be educated on regular basis and they need to be cultivating crops using all the scientific research which will create impetus whenever they have to face any international competition.

The framing of the policy will help the Government harness the horticulture potential. Horticulture sector plays an important role in any region and contributes significantly to the region’s economy. In Jammu and Kashmir Horticulture is a source of livelihood for 33 lakh population. About seven lakh families are directly or indirectly involved and depend on the Horticulture sector.

Besides, this sector alone provides jobs to other related trades such as fertilizer, pesticides, Agriculture machinery, traders and processing of fruits.

 Since the policy is being framed the governments as well as the stakeholders need to work on some crucial fronts. One is to ensure that the growers discourage the mono-cropping as much as possible.

This is necessary to increase the yield and productivity which will directly have a bearing on the income of the farming community.

 Besides, the government also needs to encourage local entrepreneurs to establish their own nurseries.  Currently Kashmir region has nearly 400 nurseries and National Horticulture Board has accredited 78 nurseries so far.

The growth graph of Horticulture sector in Jammu and Kashmir has shown a tremendous spike with 10000 metric tons of production in 1950 to 25 lakh metric tons of production in 2020.

 What is noteworthy is that the area under fruit cultivation has been witnessing an increase over the years. The area under fruit cultivation has increased from 2.95 lakh hectares in 2007-08 to 3.38 lakh hectares in 2016-17.

The sector can achieve further milestones but provided the state government also taken a keen interest and ensures that the horticulture produce is delivered to the destinations on time.

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