Today the Department of Horticulture today organized a10th mega awareness cum training camp at Arhama, Shopian to reach out to the farmers. The camp was held under Good Governance Week and as a part of “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav” to commemorate the 75th anniversary of India’s independence.

Director General Horticulture, Kashmir, Ajaz Ahmad Bhat was the Chief Guest of the function while as District Development Commissioner Shopian was the guest of honor.

In his address, DG Horticulture, elaborated in detail about the various central and UT sponsored schemes offered by the Department and highlighted the various components of these schemes and advised the farmers to avail the benefits under these schemes.

Regarding post-harvest management, DG informed that the Department is offering various initiatives like establishment of walnut de-hulling units, grading/packaging lines, low-cost processing units etc.

He also assured that special focus will be given to organic farming and said that vermicompost units particularly in tribal areas will be established on a large scale. He further appraised that about 3 lakh Apple Colonal rootstock imported from Netherlands have been successfully transplanted and further propagated in the District at Advanced Centre for Horticulture Development (ACHD), Zainpora.

He also said that an Almond Nursery is also being established in the district at Fruit Plant Nursery Zainpora to revive the declining almond production.

DG Horticulture further informed that the Shopain district is being developed as a cluster district for apple under the Horticulture Cluster Development Programme (CDP) and JKHPMC has been nominated as Cluster Development Agency for the same.

Speaking on the menace of growing narcotics crops in various parts of the District, DG assured that the Department will devise a more profitable crop substitution programme and will also provide farmers with material and technical assistance for growing alternate horticultural crops like HD apple plantation.

Regarding the modified High-Density Plantation Scheme, He said a targeted area of 5500 hectares will be covered in the UT and encouraged the farmers of the area, particularly marginal and small farmers, to come forward and take advantage of the Scheme.

He further elaborated that besides Apple other fruit crops like Cherry, Pear, Plum and Walnut Almond etc. can be planted and a minimum 01 and maximum of 20 kanals of land will be covered per beneficiary.

He further added that shifting to High Density Plantation is the only way forward to increase the production and productivity and to compete with the international market.

At the end the Director General thanked all the participants and said more such camps will be held in the area. He also gave on spot instructions to the Chief horticulture Officer to reach out to the farming community by organizing awareness camps particularly tribal and far-flung areas of the district.

Besides, Chief Horticulture Officer, Shopian the camp was attended by District Development Council (DDC) Member Raja Ab. Waheed, President Fruit Growers Association Shopian Mr. Shabir Peer, Mr. Adnan Ali an innovative fourth-generation farmer and various PRI members.

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