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J&K Govt, NAFED sign MoU; NAFED to be new major player in Kashmir horticulture

ZT NEWS NETWORK

NEW DELHI: The J&K Government today signed a major Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd. (NAFED), apex organization of marketing cooperatives for agricultural produce in the country.

After signing of the MoU, NAFED Is to cover 5500 Hectares of land at a cost of Rs.1700 Crore in the next five years, with major focus on Apple, Walnut, Cherry, Pear and other horticulture produce. NAFED will also set up 20 Farmer-Producer Organizations, one in each district, in the next three months.

The NAFED will also set up three cold storage clusters, one each in North Kashmir, South Kashmir and Kathua at a cost of Rs.500 Crore, besides ensuring Geographical Indications tags (GI Tags) for all premium/niche horticulture produce, branding and marketing of fruit crops like Apple, Walnut, Cherry, Olive, Litchi etc.

As per the MoU, NAFED with J&K Government will create post-harvest infrastructure for agriculture/horticulture crops in the form of Cold Atmosphere Stores, Grading and Processing facilities in future at the locations decided by the UT administration. Besides, implementation of high density plantation, NAFED will develop hi-tech nurseries for raising root stock and also import it to facilitate the farmers.

In presence of Manoj Sinha, Lieutenant Governor, UT of J&K, the MoU was signed between Navin Kumar Choudhary, Principal Secretary to the Government, Agriculture and Horticulture Department, J&K and  Sanjeev Kumar Chadha, Managing Director, NAFED.

Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor, Manoj Sinha observed that the J&K Government is tirelessly working on four issues that are being addressed on priority – Increasing productivity through intervention of technology; ensuring best price and market support; mitigation of risks, and diversification through allied activities.

The Lt Governor said that Horticulture produce of Jammu division will be given a major push for marketing and NAFED will also look into the possibility of high density plantation of Apple in Kishtwar and Bhaderwah.

As per the MoU, NAFED with J&K Government will create post-harvest infrastructure for agriculture/horticulture crops in the form of Cold Atmosphere Stores, Grading and Processing facilities in future at the locations decided by the UT administration. Besides, implementation of high density plantation, NAFED will develop hi-tech nurseries for raising root stock and also import it to facilitate the farmers

This initiative involves setting up virus indexing labs as per latest protocol for testing of quality planting material. The MoU has given a major thrust to marketing. The NAFED with J&K Government will work on branding and marketing of fruit crops and establishment of market linkages for exotic and non-seasonal vegetables and flowers in different metro cities of India.

Sanjeev Kumar Chadha, Managing Director, NAFED said the organisation will work in a time bound manner on each point to increase productivity and also ensuring availability of hybrid vegetable seeds and high value exotic vegetable seeds while giving special focus to popularize aromatic plants of Jammu division.

Navin Kumar Choudhary, Principal Secretary to the Government, Agriculture and Horticulture Department, J&K said that all the required infrastructure including cold storage and processing facilities will be made available in a short span of time to take horticulture of Jammu and Kashmir in the global market. The robust mechanism for branding and marketing of horticulture produce and market linkage within the country will revolutionize the agriculture and horticulture sector in Jammu and Kashmir, he added.

BVR Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary; Arun Kumar Mehta, Financial Commissioner, Finance Department and Nitishwar Kumar, Principal Secretary to the Lt Governor, besides other senior officers attended the MoU signing ceremony, in person and through virtual mode.

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