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
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
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
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.