5,500 hectares of high-density plantation to come up in J&K

The Jammu and Kashmir Administrative Council under the chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has approved the implementation of a high-density plantation scheme in the horticulture sector with the support of the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED), officials said on Thursday.

The step will go a long way in enhancing the quality and quantity of horticulture produce and doubling the farmer’s income. The farmer-centric scheme will be implemented for apple, walnut, almond, cherry, litchi and olive, among others, over an estimated area of 5,500 hectares of suitable agro-climatic zones for six years from March 2021 to March 2026.

The new high-density plantation scheme has provisions to provide 50 per cent subsidy to the orchardists for the establishment of high-density orchards accompanied by a loan facility for raising 40 per cent of remaining capital. The scheme will also provide subsidies to the growers on account of expenditure related to micro-irrigation, plant material, and anti-hail nets. Under the scheme, preference will be given to farmers with landholdings of less than four kanals.

The high-density plantations are expected to make horticulture profitable through superior yields, higher yields per hectare, early harvest, and introduction of insect and pest resistant varieties, thereby saving the expenditure on disease and pest control.

The scheme will be implemented with the support of NAFED which will provide end-to-end support to the growers and will assess the suitability of the available land for undertaking high-density plantation.

NAFED will also install a high-tech laboratory for certification of the horticulture produce on international standards, virus indexing laboratories, and will arrange for imports of the specified qualities and species from the identified countries.