Srinagar, Oct 28 : Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Wednesday assured that no agricultural land would be alienated to any non-resident person and launched the Market Intervention Scheme (MIS)-2020 for the apple crop in the Valley.
Denying media reports to the contrary, he however said that for industrial investment and employment opportunities, non-agricultural land would be optimally utilised.
He said that horticulture is one of the priority sectors of J&K due to its unique agro-climatic diversity, which makes it ideal for varied cultivation.
“The horticulture sector, in particular, has an immense growth potential and the J&K government is making all-out efforts to tap the potential to give a fillip to the socio-economic condition of stakeholders in the sector and contribute to the betterment of apple growers,” he said.
The Lt Governor observed that the objective of the newly launched MIS is to facilitate the stakeholders by providing optimum prices to the growers in the region during COVID-19 pandemic.
“MIS is a great relief for apple growers.It will provide a comprehensive insurance cover against any obstacle thus helping in stabilizing the income of the apple farmers,” he said.
“The scheme was launched for the first time in the history of J&K during September 2019 and was widely appreciated by the growers across J&K.Therefore, the government agreed to extend it to this year also.”
The Lt Governor said it will facilitate procurement of 12 lakh MT of apples, which will not only ensure profitability to the apple growers but also create rural employment through supplementary services such as packaging, transportation etc.
He said the Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, has also allowed NAFED to utilise government guarantee of Rs 2,500 crore.The losses, if any, to be incurred in this operation, will be shared between the central government and UT administration on 50:50 basis.
The Lt Governor also called upon the farmers to set up Controlled Atmosphere Storage Plants with the help of 50% subsidy provided by the UT government.He underlined the importance of linking the UT’s fruit and vegetable mandis to the National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Platform.
Speaking on the Prime Minister’s ambition on doubling the farmers’ income, the Lt Governor laid special emphasis on promoting high-density plantation of apple saplings to increase the production and achieve three to four times returns for the growers.
“It is our goal to cover 355 hectares of land under high-density apple plantation.We have also decided to convert another 1,500 hectare land for high-density apple plantation,” he said.
The Lt Governor said that other policies for more investment in apple cultivation, expansion of satellite markets and provision of high density rootstock are also being framed.