Aimed at establishing a separate Horticulture University on fast track mode, the Government has constituted a High Level Committee to work out the modalities and financial implications for establishment of University for Horticulture in Jammu and Kashmir.The Committee would comprise of Chief Secretary as its Chairman and Administrative Secretaries, Finance Department, Planning, Development and Monitoring Department, Agriculture Production Department and Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs as members besides Administrative Secretary of Horticulture department as Member Secretary and Dean Horticulture SKAUST Kashmir as its Expert Member.The Committee shall also propose the consequential amendments required to be carried out in Sher-e- Kashmir University of Agriculture, Science and Technology Act 1982.The Committee shall be serviced by the Horticulture Department. Pertinently, the government has already initiated a slew of innovative measures to boost Horticulture sector in the state with emphasis on research and skill development in the field.J&K’s Horticulture is contributing Rs. 8000 crore towards state’s economy with about 8% contributions towards its GDP.
The state produces 70% of the national production in apple, 92% in walnuts, 91% in Almonds and systematic efforts are underway to further strengthen the state’s position in production of fresh and dry fruits.Government has taken up an ambitious project of converting at least 50 per cent of traditional orchards in to High density ones. It is expected to give a huge boost to the horticulture industry making it worth 50—60 thousand crore in next 25 years time. As per the Census conducted by the horticulture department there are 7.63 crore fruit plants in the state.“The total Horticulture production in the state has tremendously raised to 24.50 lakh MTs with coverage of 3.38 lakh hectare area in 2017-18 from mere 30,000 MTs with coverage of 16 hectare land in 1960”. Horticulture is one of the largest employment generating sectors as one hectare of an apple orchard generates almost 400 mandays per year, besides generating healthy employment figures in horticulture as well as in other allied sectors”.