Srinagar, Sep.22: J&K State controls 49 % of the land dedicated to apple cultivation in India, contributing 77 % of the total apple production in the country, quoting a recent survey a top J&K Bank official said today.
Highlighting the role of apple industry in the state Parvez Ahmad, Banks Executive President said that J&K State controls 49 % of the land dedicated to apple cultivation in India, contributing 77 % of the total apple production in India.
He was addressing a gathering during the inauguration of business unit and an ATM in the apple rich Vehil, Shopian.
As per the recent survey carried out by a global consulting agency horticultural production of the state contributes about 45 % of the Agricultural production of the state and involves 30 lakh people. Apple production accounts for 86 % by value of the states horticultural output.
Referring to the potential for apple financing in the state, he said that in the state, at present only 3.3 lakh acres of land are under apple cultivation, for which a working capital of about Rs 10000 crore is needed. Out of a total of 283000 growers, Banks finance has been extended only to about 7200 growers, leaving an untapped potential of roughly Rs 10500 crore for lending to them. 75 % of apple growers get their financing from traders and are unaware that its effective cost works out to 36 % to 54 % against the Banks interest of 12 to 13 %.
For realizing this potential Bank needs to take various proactive measures in terms of building the requisite infrastructure and work in close coordination with various global and national strategic partners for adding value to the process and tapping the unexploited potential. He further added that Bank has created dedicated teams for awareness of the schemes aimed at promotion of the apple sector and bringing more growers within the ambit of banking finance. Bank has come out with apple specific hassle free finance scheme which has yielded impressive dividends and has helped a substantial number of growers by providing alternate source of finance to them at lower costs.
He said, owing to its consistent growth and outstanding contribution to the peoples empowerment and development of the state of J&K, has become an identity and an ambassador of the state.
He thanked people and state government for their total cooperation and support and enabling this institution achieve newer heights. Support of the government is like a cushion to J&K Bank while the unflinching faith of people of J&K is an inspiration for us to perform with incredible output and dedication, he said, adding the response that J&K Banks IPO received way back in 1998 was amazing. Peoples partcipation in the IPO despite lack of exposure to equity market speaks about the unflinching faith they have in J&K Bank.
Bank is also working in close co-ordination with insurance companies for bringing appropriate insurance products to mitigate risks faced by apple growers. Referring to the potential of Shopian region he said that keeping in view the huge potential for lending in Shopian town, bank is having a CD ratio of 121% in the district.
He further added that state has a huge potential for setting up of CA stores which will help the growers to increase the shelf life of apples and facilitate them to have a better price and reduce wastages. Promoting of apple industry in J&K in line with the international best practices will bring radical changes in the economic set up of the state. He added that with the efforts of the Bank the economic condition of the growers is expected to improve substantially which in turn will increase the State GDP.
He also highlighted the support being extended by the central and state governments through subsidies and the measures recently announced by the state government in the budget for promotion of the horticultural sector. The Interest Subvention scheme extended by the central government to J&K Bank has helped small apple growers to avail loan facilities at lower rate of interest.
Bank also dedicated a business unit and an ATM to the people of Vehil, Shopian.
Enumerating various people friendly initiatives taken by the bank under its Corporate Social Responsibility, DDC desired bank takes up Lahanthoor, a breath-taking spot in Shopian, into a tourist destination, in collaboration with the J&K TDC.
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