Horticulture a viable economic activity
Over 80 thousand families associated with the activity in district Kupwara
KUPWARA, MARCH 12- : Kupwara, a north Kashmir border district, 100 km away from capital city Srinagar, is gifted with ideal agro climate conditions and topography. This atmosphere is very conducive to grow different kinds and cultivars of fresh and dry fruits.
Over 80,000 families, comprising 04 lakh souls are directly or indirectly engaged with the Horticulture sector in the District. The total number of orchardists in the district exists around 81205.
The major fruits grown in the district are Apple, Walnut. Pear and cherry. The citrus and Olive are also cultivated in the Teetwal area of the district.
The rural economy of the district is exclusively dependent on Horticulture sector, as the district is presently known as
One of the major fruit producing districts of Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory.
The area under different fruit crops in the district is 29114.18 hectares, out of 20287.2 hectares are under fresh fruits and 8827 hectares under dry fruits. In terms of production the district has shown a significant increase in production and touched the mark of 230042.09 metric tons in which 201836.49 M.T are fresh fruits and 26451 M.T are dry fruits. Among the total production, around 29789 metric tons have been locally consumed and around 168810 metric tons have been exported outside the district.
Because of the concerted efforts of the horticulture department in the district, there was a significant increase in the ‘A- Grade’ production of fruits during the year 2021 and the sector touched new heights. It helped the orchardists to sell their produce on average of Rs 800 to 1000 per box thereby improving the socio economic life of the people associated with this job.
In order to increase the production by 3 fold and improve the quality of fruits and double the income of a grower, the introduction of a modified high density scheme has proven up to the mark. The department of horticulture is making all out efforts for coverage of maximum area under this scheme in the district so that the economic conditions of farmers and orchardists are increased to a respectable level. Under the scheme 6.15 Hectare of land have been brought under high density plantation in this district while a target of 100 hectare has been fixed for 2021-22 against of which 40 hectare have been already identified for execution and the work is in progress.
“As per analysis and field survey of the department, the beneficiaries who have shifted to high density plantation have market this scheme as a Grade A ( 10 out of 10 point scale)”, said Chief Horticulture Officer Kupwara( CHO), adding that the the economic condition and social status of the farmers has increased many folds . He further informed that encouraging farmers through different means of communication to shift from traditional farming into high density farming is bearing good fruit at ground level.
Many other government schemes to boost the Horticulture sector are in operation in the district.
“Kupwara having bestowed with tremendous scope for high density and medium density walnut plantation, the department of Horticulture is introducing grafted walnut plantation in the district”, said CHO, adding that in near future, the district will be equipped with this kind of plantation. He said around 5 Hectare have been brought under medium density Walnut plantations during 2021.
With the introduction of centrally sponsored schemes, emphasis has been laid to improve the production and productivity of Horticulture produce by providing different incentives under different components. The incentives, as per the data, that are available for farmers under different Components include Component Area Incentive, under which Rs.7.50 lakh are being provided for establishment of nursery of 01 Hectare.
Likewise, establishment of orchard (Normal density), Modified High Density, Rejuvenations of old /senile orchards, Creation of irrigation infrastructure through Bore/tube well, Establishment of Vermi compost units, Establishment of Pack house, Establishment of poly green House (Tubular structure), Purchase of Tractor, Purchase of Power tiller, Weeder, Power Sprayer, Self-Propelled machinery and Procurement of Refrigerated Van (9 MT capacity), Establishment of food processing unit and Establishment of C.A. stores
The introduction of new schemes and and supply of machinery equipment on subsidized cost have reduced the labour requirement on farms to an appreciable level, besides, the different operations are being completed in time which has reduced the input / production cost per hectare
To cater the requirement of fruit plants, the Horticulture Department has set up 5 Nurseries in district Kupwara at different agro climatic Zones. The purpose of establishment of nurseries is to produce qualitative and adequate plant material for farmers.
The efforts, being taken by the Horticulture Department to boost the Horticulture sector in the district, are always evolving and there remains scope to further develop the sector in accordance with the latest scientific technology. The final goal of the development of the Horticulture sector is to maintain and sustain its largest employment generation capacity.