The administration is bringing in new scientific procedures and ways for farmers to assist them to grow world-class fruits in an effort to improve horticulture in the Kashmir valley.
Horticulture is a major industry in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, accounting for about 8% of the GDP. In the horticulture industry, the Kashmiri apple is one of the most important shareholders. The department is now trying to assist farmers with new scientific approaches and in the establishment of high-density apple orchards.
Hundreds of acres of land used by brick kiln producers in Budgam district have been turned to apple orchards. Locals claim that this has benefited both the farmers and the environment.
Chief Horticulture Officer, Budgam, Javaid Ahmad Bhat said, “The government came up with the idea of high-density orchards. It accommodates more plants plus the quality of 90-95 percent of apples is grade A”.
Further he added, “This land was under the brick kiln people and we approached the farmers. We helped them with a subsidy up to 50 percent. The harvest was much more valuable than what they were getting. And now thousands of kilns have been transformed”.
After transforming the land into orchards, the farmers are now earning roughly one lakh rupees each canal. This is also encouraging others in the region to start planting apples.