Monday, November 28, 2022
Jammu and Kashmir



In recent years, as a result of all-round economic and technological advancement of the state, the fruit industry has received a great boost, leading to greater production and export of the produce. This sector constitutes the core of the agricultural economy of the state. About 20 percent of the total cultivated area is under horticulture crop. About 4.5 lakh families are engaged directly or indirectly with horticulture activities. In physical terms, the area under fruit cultivation is about 1.73 lakh hectares by the end of the Seventh plan period. The total fruit production in the state was 9.10 lakh tonnes in 1995-96. Fruit export was to the tune of 7.10 lakh tonnes in this period.

Horticulture constitutes a critical area of the state's economy, contributing about Rs.400 crores of the state's domestic product. Sopore is the main, fruit producing district in the valley and accounts for 50 percent of the total fruit production.

The apple occupies a predominant position amongst horticulture crops, constituting 45 percent of the total area under tree crops. In apple cultivation, the thrust is on promoting high density plantations and reduction in gestation period. Enlarged facilities are being set up for processing and canning of fruits in the state. A major, apple concentrate fruit plant is coming up in the assisted sector at Jammu, with foreign collaboration.

Horticulture activities are also being given a major thrust in hilly areas of the state. The other fruits are walnuts, almonds, pears, cherries, apricots and peaches in the temperate areas and mango, citrus and ber in sub-tropical areas. An apricot drying plant was commissioned at Kargil in1996.

 As per survey, about 7.30 lakh hectares of land in the Shiwalik hills as well as in the Karewas, do not have assured means of irrigation. The strategy would be organised on an area approach so as to ensure intensive coverage and to provide the back-up of infrastructure facilities at minimum cost. Another important component would be the introduction of the zonalisation concept. The cultivation of most suited fruit crops in a particular agro-climatic zone shall be encouraged.

The state government has taken up in April 1990, a world bank aided horticulture development programme captioned North-west horticulture project. For this purpose, Rs.900 lakh were proposed during the Eighth plan period.

Walnut is the next important item, covering nearly 18,000 hectares of land. The state has almost a monopoly in growing dry fruits like walnuts. The project for transfer of technology on vegetative propagation of walnuts with the help of food and agricultural organisation, an organ of the united nations has been implemented. This is expected to reduce the current gestation period and also to ensure uniform quality of produce.

Saffron cultivation is unique to Jammu and Kashmir state, the only other country producing the flower crop being Spain. The annual production of saffron, confined to Pampore in the Kashmir valley and to the Kishtwar valley of Jammu province, varies from 10 to 12 tonnes. The mushroom industry has taken spurt recently and is growing at a fast speed.