Stressing the need for devising effective control measures against codling moth infestation and establishing better pest management practices in Ladakh region, Minister for Horticulture, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Syed Basharat Bukhari today directed SKUAST Kashmir to adopt 6 villages for implementation of the ‘Management Module’ developed by the varsity for effectual control over the pest in the region.The Minister passed these directions during a meeting with the senior officers of Horticulture, allied departments and SUKAST-K, convened to assess the present status of codling moth pest infestation and control in Ladakh region. Secretary Horticulture Manzoor Ahmad Lone, VC SUKAST Kashmir Prof Nazeer Ahmed, Director Horticulture Kashmir Manzoor Ahmad Qadiri, Director Horticulture Planning & Marketing J&K Nazim Zai Khan, Deputy Director Planning Madan Gopal Sharma, Chief Horticulture Officer Leh TsewangPunchok, Chief Horticulture Officer Kargil Sarabjit Singh besides other officers were present in the meeting.During the meeting, the Minister directed SUKAST Kashmir to work in close coordination with the Horticulture Department for early execution of the project on ground so that a concrete strategy, mechanism can be developed for prevention and control of the infestation.
Further, it was decided in the meeting that the University will study the applicability of gamma radiation technology for use as a prevention measure against infestation of fresh fruit in the region. For this, SUKAST will take up a viability study for installation of ‘Gamma Irradiator’ in the region and submit its report to the department for eventual action.‘The Apricot Crop in Ladakh, particularly Kargil is one of the star horticulture crops, generating income in millions of rupees annually for the growers. Therefore, there is an urgent need for devising scientific techniques to control the codling moth in Ladakh region, so that the growers do not have to suffer as a result of the embargos on export of fresh produce of Apple and Apricot from the region,’ Bukhari asserted.The Minister also directed for constitution of a committee comprising of Director HPM J&K and Director Horticulture Kashmir to explore the possibility and modalities of processing fresh fruit produce from Ladakh region at Leh and Kargil, and its subsequent marketing for generating healthy returns.Additionally, the Minister directed SUKAST to give suggestions with regard to the best available plant materials from Central Asia and Europe for Temperate Fruits viz Cherry, Apricot, and Nuts for plantation in the region of J&K.