Kashmir Apple Production Stagnant

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SRINAGAR: The state’s per-hectare production of apple has remained stagnant since 2007-08, the government said Wednesday.

“The present average yield of apple, which is 10 MT per hectare, has remained stagnant since 2007-08,” the government said in an official handout issued here.

The information was given to the Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in a high-level meeting convened in this summer capital of the state to discuss the issues concerning the horticulture sec-tor.

The Minister for Horticulture A R Veeri, Minister for Public Works Syed Altaf Bukhari, Minister for Finance Dr Haseeb A Drabu, Minister for Agriculture Production Ghulam Nabi Lone, Chief Secre-tary Iqbal Khandey, and many top bureaucrats attended the meeting.

The apple is one of the main export products of the state’s horticulture sector, which contributes 7-8 per cent to the State’s GDP. According to the official figures, nearly 33 lakh people in the state are directly and indirectly involved with the sector, which earned Rs 4,500 crore from export of 10 lakh tons of fresh and dry fruits last year. The floods in September 2014 badly affected the sector, inflicting losses to the tune of Rs1, 568 crore.

To give a lift to the export of fruits grown in Jammu and Kashmir, Sayeed issued directions for a new Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) under which the state would procure C-grade apples and pears from the farmers.

The move would ensure that only quality fruits are exported to the other states.

The CM was, however, informed that MIS, to begin with, will be introduced in apple-growing Sopore and Shopian towns in Kashmir and in Jammu division’s Ramnagar and Rajouri, which grow pear in a large quantity.

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