Udhampur (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], April 5 (ANI): After the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha launched the Ultra High-Density apple plantation drive in Jammu and Kashmir, the Department of Horticulture on Sunday kick-started the drive in the remotest corner of the District Udhampur, Upper-Meer in the Panchari area.
The hundred per cent state-funded, Ultra High-Density apple plantation scheme aims to achieve enhanced apple production and was launched as part of the Government's efforts to boost production and double the income of the farmers.
The drive in Upper-Meer was inaugurated by Ashok Kumar, KAS, Additional District Development Commissioner Udhampur, in the presence of District Development Council member Panchari-Moungri area and Block Development Council Chairman.
Salil Kumar Gupta Chief Horticulture Officer explained to the farmers of the area about the scheme which is to be implemented in all the temperate areas of Udhampur.
Additional District Development Commissioner, Udhampur and Block Development Council Chairman along with Chief Horticulture Officer also visited the Kultyar area of Zone Panchari where the drive was also launched.
The farmers were also guided about rainwater harvesting.
The farmers of the area shared their happiness and said that the scheme will boost apple production in the high altitude areas of the Udhampur district.
Prem Nath, a farmer said, "80 per cent people are farming here. A few days before I got to know that there is a variety of apple which is not there in the state. The horticulture department said that it is very good, so I planted it on my land, the department guided and helped us in plantation, they said that in two years it will give fruits. The Horticulture department also gives subsidy for this scheme"
"I think people of neighbouring villages will also start planting this variety of apples after they get to know about the scheme," he added.
Ompal of meer village said, "The climatic conditions here are suitable for the cultivation of apple. The demand is very high, Normally apple is cultivated in Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, Jammu has so much barren land that is suitable for apple cultivation because 60 per cent of Jammu is in the temperate zone. New technology and new techniques are needed to do it. This project is an inspiration. Last year I planted apples and the result was very good."
"There is less need for landholding, the trees can be grown near one another as the roots will not be so long. Within two years you will get the results. This also aids women's empowerment, they can work near their homes, unemployed youth can also get work," he added.
Another local farmer said, "The new breed that came from Italy is very good, there is a possibility of higher income generation. This is a very good government initiative."
Salil Kumar Gupta, Chief Horticulture officer Udhampur said, "Today is a very happy day for us... This drive is in accordance with PM Modi's dream to double the income of farmers. As per our traditional plantation, only 15 plants could be planted in a Kanal but 166 plants of this variety can be planted in one Kanal."
"The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited is also coordinating with us on this drive, today we launched it for Upper-Meer but in days to come the plantation drive will be done for the entire district. Anyone with 1 Kanal land that has water supply can approach us in this plantation drive or if someone wants to buy one Kanal, 50 per cent subsidy will be given from the state, 40 per cent can be borne through bank finance and just 10 per cent farmers have to have with them," he added. (ANI)