Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Farooq Khan today maintained that in the age of specialization, invoking expertise would help in tapping huge potential of floriculture sector in Jammu and Kashmir.
He made these remarks while chairing a meeting to review the functioning of Floriculture, Gardens and Parks Department here at the Civil Secretariat.
The meeting was attended by Secretary Floriculture, Fayaz Ahmed, Director Floriculture Jammu, Kishore Chib and other concerned officers while Director Floriculture Kashmir, Farooq Ahmed and other concerned officers participated through video conferencing.
Speaking at the meeting, the Advisor exhorted that in order to attract tourists to gardens and parks of J&K, the department must seek expertise from hired consultants or consultancy firms who would prepare composite proposals, which would include all aspects of modern floriculture, before submitting them to the government.
The chair was informed that 161 works are in progress in respect of the department with an estimated cost of Rs. 141.40 crore during the current financial year.
During the meeting, Advisor Khan was informed that an extension plan for Tulip Garden, Srinagar is being worked out on the pattern of Japanese Cherry Tree Section (SAKURA) with the establishment of Theme Gardens (Chrysanthemum, Dahlia, Peony, Rose Gardens etc) to increase the span of tourist season.
It was also given out that the department is planning to establish Centres of Excellence, one each at Jammu and Srinagar, besides up gradation and mechanization of gardens and parks by way of providing of world class infrastructure and civic amenities for visitors to major gardens and parks.
The meeting was told that a proposal is underway for the mechanization of maintenance work to address the man-power shortage by procuring latest state-of-art garden machinery.
The Advisor also suggested the department to formulate proposals in floriculture sector for submission to Government of India for funding under Centrally Sponsored Schemes. He impressed upon the officers to focus on areas where farmers’ income would be doubled so that their productivity would increase by facilitating their produce for sale in different markets.
Suggesting several innovative ways to boost floriculture sector in J&K, the Advisor called for setting up of commercial floriculture parks in collaboration with other departments besides exploration of viable marketing channels for cut flower business with adequate cold-storage facility at the airports.
The meeting was informed that under Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), Rs 280 lakh have been approved for J&K while an action plan of Rs.48.13 for 2019-20 have been submitted to the concerned quarters under Agricultural Technology Management Agency Scheme (ATMA). It was informed, that under this programme, Exposure visits of extension staff to progressive states, trainings of progressive farmers (inter-state/within state/within district) and exposure visits of farmers (inter-state) are being undertaken.
Similarly, under Rashtriya Kissan Vikas Yojna (RKVY) an action plan of Rs 48.24 lakh for J&K for 2019-20 stands submitted to the concerned heads, the meeting was told. Besides, 7000 growers have been registered with the department with 850 as active growers while 267 hectare area is under cultivation, of which, 12 hectare is under protected cultivation. Besides, 12 hectare of land is under ornamental nurseries while 39.9 hectare is under aromatic plant cultivation and 203 hectare under open cultivation with production of 31.90 lakh spikes.