In India, horticulture is growing very fast and contributing to the Indian economy with increasing exports of agriculture commodities. Horticulture is not only needed in the world but it is also a better career option for youth. Recently, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has extended PM’s development package (PMDP) for horticulture development in India’s new Union Territories of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh. Under the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture, the committee has approved the extension of PMDP by three years up to March 31, 2022. The PMDP was approved in the year 2016 and its timeline ended on 31st March 2019. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare considered horticulture as a key factor that can contribute to the development of newly formed UTs. When we talk about Kashmir, the very first things that come to our mind are‘apple’ and ‘saffron’. The project will mainly focus on these signature crops including procurement of quality planting materials, improved rootstocks, and rejuvenation of old orchards. The extension of the package will help to generate employment opportunities for approximately 44 lakhs man-days. The horticulture growth will promote the establishment of grading, sorting, packaging units, cold storages, and fruit processing industries in the target area. The scheme is set to promote the latest technology for increasing per plant produce (PPP) by the adoption of a high-density planting system, improved plant training systems (espalier training system) and integrated nutrient management system. The government has allotted Rs. 500 crores under the scheme to these UTs for the establishment of horticulture driven development which also has approval for the establishment of solar or hybrid (electric & solar) operated cold storage facilities in Ladakh and Jammu. With the increase in crop production, the project will also increase tourism and transport development in these areas. The horticultural production surpassed total food grain production in 2015, since then it is achieving newer highs every year contributing to the nutritional and financial security of farmers and rural areas. India has unlimited capabilities in terms of Agri-climatic zones and crop biodiversity, the only step needed is to explore the opportunities and Indian government under the supervision of PM Narender Modi Ji, which has opened a new route in Ladakh, Kashmir, and Jammu.
Dr. Vinita Rajput
Faculty of Agricultural Sciences