As a part of Public Outreach Programme of Union Government for Jammu and Kashmir, Union Minister of Food Processing Industries (FPI), Shri Pashupati Kumar Paras today visited Centre of Excellence (CoE), Zawoora Srinagar and had a detailed interaction with the progressive farmers and entrepreneurs.Speaking on the occasion the Union Minister said that the Government is committed to fulfill all genuine demands of farming community of the valley. He said that the Government has already initiated several measures to realize the dream of Prime Minister of doubling the farmers’ income by 2022.Highlighting about the initiatives of Union Government for development of Food Processing sector in J&K, Shri Paras said that the Government is exploring possibilities to set up mini food parks in J&K to boost investment. He added that apart from enhancing processing capacity in the region, this will also ensure farmers get remunerative prices for their produce.The Minister on the occasion announced that a special team from the Centre will be deputed to the Valley to assess the problems being faced by the farming community and them that all of their grievances will be redressed.While interacting with the fruit growers, Shri Paras advised them to avail benefits of various centrally Sponsored Schemes for obtaining high yields with least inputs.
On the occasion, the Minister also appreciated the UT Government for its efforts put in towards the upliftment of farming community of the valley.In his welcome address, Director General Horticulture briefed the Minister about the present scenario of Horticulture Sector of Kashmir Valley.He said that Horticulture is one of the important sectors of the state which serves as the backbone for the economy of J&K. He informed the Minister that the total area under fruits in Kashmir valley is about 3.3 lakh Hectare with an annual production of 24 lakh MTs.He apprised the Minister that the C-Grade, culled and fallen apples, which accounts for substantial quantum of around 6 lakh MTs, needs to be exploited as raw material for processing Industry.On the occasion, various Entrepreneurs and fruit growers interacted with the Minister and apprised him about various issues faced by them. They requested the Minister that Operation Green Scheme launched by the Government during the previous year regarding subsidy on transportation and CA Storage charges on fruits, may be continued. They also demanded that at least one fruit processing Unit should be established in every district to cater to local demands.Besides Director General Horticulture, Kashmir, Ajaz Ahmad Bhat, Joint Director Horticulture, various officers of horticulture department, DDC member, large number of farmers and entrepreneurs were also present during the interaction.