Lassipora: To strengthen Jammu and Kashmir`s economy, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday called for nurturing horticulture industry and the growers associated with it.
"Horticulture, handicraft and tourism are the resourceful sectors in Jammu and Kashmir which can catapult financial status of the state and uplift people associated with these sectors," Omar said at a function here, 45 kms from Srinagar.
He laid foundation stone of a Controlled Atmosphere Storage (CAS) and inaugurated a similar one established in private sector at this industrial estate, which is fast emerging as the hub of business activities in the Valley.
The Chief Minister said that CAS facility would help in regulating the market and ensuring remunerative price for Kashmir horticulture produce.
The glut created in the terminal markets by bulk supply of fruit from the Valley in the fruit season reduces the prices causing economic losses to the growers, he said.
Omar said setting up of infrastructure like CAS in the Valley and regulating the market by dispatching fruit as per the demand in the terminal markets would benefit growers in a larger extent. "This will also check the sudden fall in prices of fruit in the markets due to the glut," he said.
He also laid stress on increasing per hectare production and productivity. As per present analysis report per hectare production of apple in the Valley is 9.5 tones as compared to 70 tonnes per hectare in Austria, Omar said.
If the per hectare production of fruit is raised up to 25 tonnes per hectare in the state, Jammu and Kashmir would be able to produce 35 lakh tones of apple annually, he said, adding it would not only generate economic activities and jobs but help to strengthen the economy.
The Chief Minister said that Kashmir is famous throughout the world for its handicrafts, fruit and natural beauty. "But we lack in scientific marketing of fruit," Omar said.
Packaging, grading and quality control are must to sell the produce in terminal markets on reasonable prices, he said.
Omar said the government has made agriculture sector almost tax free and various facilities and concessions are being provided to the growers to strengthen their economic activity.
The Chief Minister said that local entrepreneurs are the persons who can revolutionise state`s economy adding that outside industrialists only come here to take benefits of concessions and subsidies, and when these end up the outside investors end up their units and leave the state.
He said the government has focused on nurturing locals to invest in the feasible fields and play an important part in the growth and development of the state`s economy.