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Jammu attains new heights in horticulture
Vivek Suri | 16 Mar 2008

Jammu attains new heights in horticulture Popularizing new fruit species for plantation.

Jammu attains new heights in horticulture

Popularizing new fruit species for plantation

VIVEK SURI
JAMMU, MARCH 17:
Keeping pace with rapid development and exploring
possibilities to further enhance production so as to boost the
economy, the Horticulture sector in Jammu province of J&K state
has registered record achievement during past three years.

Jammu division having varied agro-climatic conditions has the
privilege of producing different kinds of fruits of great
commercial value. The area under fruit has increased over the
years and presently about 0.934 lakh hectares of land is under
fruit cultivation with a production of 1.314 lakh metric tones of
fruit this year. An area of more than 1.40 lakh hectares is
available for further expansion under horticulture in Jammu
division.

During the past three years, strategies adopted and schemes
implemented for cultivation of fruits in different micro zones of
Jammu division were based on diversification and zonalization on
area approach basis. The plants planted in different feasible
areas of the division include Apple, Pear, Plum, Apricot and
Walnut in temperate areas, Olive, Pecan Nut, Peach, Apricots in
sub-temperate zones and Citrus, Mango, Ber, Aonla, Guava, Litchi
in sub-tropical areas.

In addition cultivation of strawberry has also picked up to a
greater extent in Jammu, Udhampur and Kashmir districts and during
the last year (2006-2007), an area of 42 hectares has been brought
under its cultivation while planting about 30 lakh strawberry
plants by the growers which is the record plantation so far in the
division and strawberry growers have on an average earned Rs. 0.30
lakh out of one kanal of land under strawberry cultivation (Rs.6
lakh per Ha).

Apprising about the achievements registered for development of
Horticulture during 2005-06 to 2006-07, the Director Horticulture,
Mr M.S Qasba said that an additional area of 9758 hectares has
been covered under New Plantation Programme both under state and
centrally sponsored schemes including Technology Mission
Programme. About 4.361 and 5.691 lakh fruit plants of different
kinds and varieties have respectively been distributed to the
farmers from Government Fruit Plant Nurseries under Area Expansion
Programme. The department has increased the revenue from the
departmental nurseries on account of sale of fruit plants from Rs.
17.67 lakh in 2004-05 to Rs.31.48 lakh this year.

In sub-temperate areas of Jammu division, the Olive production is
a promising field and a thrust for Horticulture. During the last
two years 45247 Olive plants of selected varieties produced at
Horticulture Station Govindpura-Ramban and at Fruit Plant Nursery,
Rajouri have been distributed to the prospective beneficiaries for
expansion of area under Olive cultivation. For the current year it
is proposed to distribute 40,000 Olive plants to the farmers in
the potential areas of the division. To improve the Walnut
production and cultivation in the state about 1474 budded, grafted
Walnut plants raised from departmental nurseries have been
distributed to the farmers during the last two years. These plants
will come into bearing after 4-5 years compared to 7-8 years in
respect of plants raised from seeds. The department has also
attempted grafting of Walnut plants through use of Hot Callusing
Method at Horticulture Farm Ramban and with this process more than
90 percent success has been achieved. It is estimated that about
5000 grafted Walnut plants will become available during the
current year for distribution to the farmers of the division.

To raise the socio-economic status of the farmers, the department
distributed 5.93 lakh strawberry plants, 30419 Pecan-Nut plants,
8379 Kiwi plants in Jammu division among the farming community.
High density plants of Apple in irrigated areas of the division
were also introduced. The department has established one Progeny
Orchard of Grapes (Cultivar Flame Seedless and Perlett) at Fruit
Plant Nursery Maralia during the year 2004-05. A sizable quantity
of strawberry fruit walls dispatched to different markets of
Kashmir and Jammu division for the first time in view of its bulk
production during crop season 2006 and 2007. Nearly 5 metric tones
of C-grade strawberry fruit belonging to the farmers of Jammu
district was got processed in private fruit processing centres.
For Protected Cultivation about 1478 low cost Poly Green Houses
were established through the division.

Mr. J.L Sharma, Joint Director Horticulture, informed that
mechanization of horticulture is one of the essential component
for production of quality fruit and for controlling various
diseases and insects. More than 97 percent of the fruit growers in
the state are small and marginal farmers and belong to SC and ST
categories, therefore difficult for them to afford purchase of
agricultural machinery, equipment of their own to conduct various
horticultural operations. Incentive on such machinery is serving
as an efficient tool to persuade the farmers for adopting such
measures. Expert advice and suggestions are available as
technicians and field experts are present at every nursery to give
live demonstrations and suggestions. Subject matter specialists
are also available at district level to advice on Pomology
(general fruit crop), Plant Pathology and Entomology (Experts for
Pest Control). He said that in the nurseries demonstrations are
given to interested people on Mango planting through Inarching and
Vinear Grafting, Litchi and Guava through Air Layering, Citrus
Fruits through budding and grafting besides intercropping of
different varieties on private orchards.

Giving details of production and availability of different
varieties on subsidized rates nursery wise, Mr. Sharma said that
at Government Grape Farm, Maralia spread over 56 kanals, mother
plants of Flame Seedless and Perlett brought from Punjab
Agriculture University, Ludhiana in 2005-06 besides Gauva
Allahabadi and Lalit are also available. In Government Fruit Plant
Nursery Maralia, Litchi (Calcutti, Seedless, Dehradun), Mango
(Dushehri) are available on discount to farmers, departmental
plantation and general masses.

At Integrated Multi-Crop Nursery, Vijaypur spread over 60 kanal,
mother plants of Gauva, Amla, Kinnow, Anar, Phalsa, Mango
(Dushehri, Amarpalli, Swarn Rekha), Litchi, Ber and Raj Harad are
available. The quality plant material of virus free Kinnow, Ganesh
variety of Anar, Arka Amalya, Lait, Allahbadi Safeda of Guava have
been procured from Punjab Agriculture University, Lidhiana, two
years back and now the bud wood of these mother plants is being
utilized for mass production of quality plant material.