Govt mulls constituting Walnut Dev Board

PULWAMA: The Minister for Housing, Horticulture and Culture, Mr. Raman Bhalla, today said that the government was working on a proposal to constitute Walnut Development Board, to boost the production of the dry fruit which has huge potential in national and international market.

Addressing fruit growers and departmental functionaries  after inspecting the Fruit MandiPachharPulwama, the Minister said that the Board with  horticulture experts  and senior departmental functionaries as its members  would work for the promotion of walnut growing  in the potential areas , its processing  and exploring the  market within the country and abroad.

The Minister said that the proposed move is part of various initiatives being taken by the government to promote lucrative horticulture industry in the state.

Responding to the local demands, the Minister said that the horticulture has been flagged as priority sector by the government and several schemes have been launched to promote fruit growing in the state.

He said that the opening of fruit mandies across the state has proved highly beneficial for the fruit growers as it has helped to remove the middleman from the scene who use to take away the maximum benefit.

The Minister assured the locals that the demand for expansion of the   Fruit Mandi (ApniMandi) in PachharPulwama would be given due consideration. He assured that the blacktopping and macadamization of the fruit mandi would be immediately taken up.

“I will immediately take up the matter with the concerned officials and ensure that the funds for the macadamization of the Mandi spread over an area of 9kanals 10 marlas would be made available immediately” he said and added that the demand for the further expansion of the Mandi would also be given due consideration.

Listing other steps taken by the government for the benefit of the farmers, the Minister said that the government was going to construct KissanGhars at various places offer lodging facilities to the farmers on their visit to the capital cities in connection with their work.

Earlier, MLA Rajpora, while raising the demand of expansion of the local Fruit Mandi said that the yearly production of fruits in the area has increased several times over past few years and there was a need to expand the Mandi.  He said that during 2010-2011 six lakh boxes were sold at the mandi fetching Rs 25 crore to the growers , in the year 2011-12 , the Mandi witnessed sale of 9.50 lakh boxes recording a return of Rs 53 crore and during  2012 -2013,8 lakh boxes were sold at Rs 46 crore. He said on this occasion that he had released an amount of Rs 28 Lacs from his CD fund for development of said mandiat the start of the project.

Director Horticulture Planning and marketing, Showkat Ahmad Zargar and Director Horticulture and Production, SanamNarbo also spoke on the occasion.

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