Minister for Horticulture, Syed Basharat Bukhari informed the house that various measures have been taken for the development of Fruit Industry in Kashmir Valley including Kulgam district. He said the department has introduced several programmes to pay focused attention on the development of Fruit Industry in the stateReplying to the question of legislator, Abdul Majid Padder, the Minister said that various initiatives have been taken by the department in this regard which includes bringing more area under horticulture and rejuvenation of old and senile orchards, introducing high density plantation, providing Irrigation facilities by way of constructing bore-wells, tube-wells and water harvesting tanks, development of Packing Houses for sorting and handling horticulture produce on scientific lines, setting up of vermi-compost units for promoting organic farming and providing assistance for mechanization of orchards by way of providing tractors, tillers, motor power sprayers etc.
Marketing facilities are also being provided by the development of, satellite and Apni Mandies in production zones and subsidy to entrepreneurs for setting up CA stores and Walnut sorting, grading and packing units in the state, he added.He said the department is also developing model apple village at Khiram, Sirhama, Anantnag and Centre of Excellence at Zahoora in Srinagar.Responding to another query of legislator, the Minister said that in district Kulgam, 64 kanal area has been brought under High Density Apple plantation during 2016-17, while Rs 554.42 lakh has been spent on the Development of F&V Market over 77 kanal area.He said that the department has also developed F&V Market over 40.16 kanal land at Batingoo Kulgam involving a cost of Rs 228.72 lakh.
He further informed that Apple Mandi at Noonmal Kulgam has been developed at the cost of Rs 44.25 lakh. “Assistance is also being provided to fruit growers under Centrally Sponsored Schemes for developing irrigation facilities, vermi-compost unit, pack houses, farm mechanization etc,” he added.With regard to storage facilities in Kulgam district, the Minister said that 19 CA storage units have come up in the private sector out of which 17 CA are located in Kashmir Valley adding that JKHPMC is going to establish a CA store of 5000 MT capacity at each of its three locations in Kashmir.Further the legitimate interested growers and traders associations of the area have been advised to come forward to establish CA Storage units under PPP mode at Barzaloo in Kulgam, he informed.
Giving further information, the Minister said that a number of measures have been taken to keep check on sale of spurious pesticides and chemicals in the market. “At the district level, a Subject Matter Specialist and Horticulture Development Officer Conducts survey for collecting pesticide samples and send them to designated laboratories for analysis. Action is taken against shops/ dealers by seizing the material under the Insecticide Act,” he added.He informed that a pesticide Testing Lab has been established at Raj Bagh, Srinagar adding that some of the samples of fungicides/ insecticides were found sub-standard after quality test analysis in the notified Pesticide Testing Laboratories.“In 2017-18, about 60 samples of pesticides have been declared mis-branded/ sub- standard by the notified laboratories. In this connection 60 prosecutions were initiated in different courts against the defaulting dealers/manufacturing companies under the Insecticides Act, 1968 and Rule 1971,” the Minister added.
The Minister said that stop sale orders were issued for the mis-branded pesticides in question and available quantity seized adding that restrictions were imposed on sale of Ethephon and banned its use on apple crop in the State.To ensure supply of standard/ branded pesticides to the growers, the pesticide entering the state is subjected to multipoint scrutiny. Sampling of the pesticides is done at state entry points and immediately sent for quality analysis to state notified pesticides laboratories and Central Insecticides Laboratory, Faridabad. Again, samples are drawn from the company go-downs and at wholesale and retailer level as well, he informed further.Under rejuvenation of old and senile orchards component of MIDH, the Minister said that pesticides worth Rs 6500 per ha are distributed free of cost to orchardists.“A target of 900 hectare has been achieved last year, while a target of 1000 hectares has been set for this year under this component”, the Minister said.
Regarding providing standard chemicals on the subsidized rates on the analogy of Himachal Pradesh, he said that it is a policy decision which could be examined.Legislators Ali Mohammad Sagar, Khalil Bandh, M Y Tarigami and Mohammad Akbar Lone raised supplementary questions regarding post harvesting arrangements put in place by the department for facilitating the fruit growers of the state.Responding to the issues, the Minister said that the department is being provided all necessary facilities to the farmers so that their product reaches the market in time to get good price of their produce.