In a significant announcement, Mehbooba Mufti Saturday directed slapping of Public Safety Act against the Pesticides dealers found involved in adulteration or selling of spurious pesticides and fungicides in the State. CM Mehbooba Mufti was talking on the sidelines of a gathering of fruit growers and progressive farmers. She assured the growers that her Government has flagged their concerns on priority and steps are being taken to address them properly.
Terming horticulture as the backbone of State’s economy, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti exuded confidence that the sector has the potential to get the socio economic profile of Jammu & Kashmir changed for better. She said the Government is taking a slew of measures to further incentivize this industry and address growers’ concerns.
Addressing a largely attended gathering of fruit growers and progressive farmers after formally launching the High Density Apple Plantation Scheme, the Chief Minister said with a huge market demand and massive scope for potential realization, Horticulture industry has the capacity to change the fortunes of not only the farming community but the entire State with its cascading benefits. She said it is a matter of satisfaction that horticulture industry sustained the economy of the State, much ahead of other sectors, during the last three decades of difficult times.
Complimenting the growers on the launch of the scheme, Mehbooba Mufti hoped that they would positively reciprocate the Government’s efforts to rejuvenate this sector on scientific lines. She said with the adoption of these high density plants the economic returns of farmers are sure to shoot up.
“Under the scheme, 50% subsidy would be provided by the Government to the farmers and mega ‘Mandies’ and CA stores would be set up in the State, at Jablipora in Anantnag and Aglar in Pulwama in first stage, besides establishment of e-markets for the online sale of the produce. The Khadi & Village Industries Board has launched a scheme under which 40 % subsidy would be provided for setting up of cardboard fruit box manufacturing units,” she said.
The Chief Minister said that the Government has already launched a Market Intervention Scheme to stabilize the rates of apple produce and benefit growers. Besides a network of mandies is being laid to maximize direct interface between growers and buyers.
The Chief Minister asked the J&K Bank authorities to slash down further the interest rates on the credit to be given to farmers under the scheme.
While directing the Horticulture Department to pace up the setting up of fruit mandies and CA stores as envisioned in the scheme, CM announced that the current year would be observed as the year of Apple to position the fruit industry in the mainstream of the State’s economic discourse.