Kashmir to celebrate its chief fruit with ‘Apple Year’

A series of promotional activities are scheduled over the next two years as the Jammu and Kashmir Government prepares for the launch of ‘Apple Year’, dedicated to the chief fruit of region.
The Apple Year, which was announced by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti several months ago, will begin with the harvesting season later this week or next week.
It is the first detailed initiative by the state government dedicated to the promotion of the fruit industry, which is the backbone of the region’s economy with an annual turnover of Rs 6,500 crore.
“We are launching the Apple Year to create awareness about our horticulture with a thrust on apple because it is the state’s prominent fruit,” said Mathora Masoom, Director, Horticulture, Kashmir. “It is aimed at promoting the apple within our state, outside of our state and maybe abroad also,” the official said.
The awareness measures scheduled so far include a mobile messaging campaign for farmers advising them about weather, pesticides, harvesting and other requirements for maintaining a healthy crop.
“The aim is that every home should have awareness about horticulture. We will be conducting fruit shows, study tours and it will be a continuous process for the next two years,” the official said.
The apple industry is the major component of Kashmir’s economy and nearly 35 lakh people are involved in this business at various stages. The area under fruit cultivation in the state increased from 2.95 lakh hectares in 2007-08 to 3.38 lakh hectares in 2015-16. The region expects a bumper cultivation of apple this harvesting season with an increase of almost one lakh metric tonne from last year to 17 lakh metric tonne this year, the official said. The government is also introducing a “self-plucking” component during the Apple Year which will offer tourists access to an orchard where they can themselves pluck the fruit and take it home. The trucks which export apples to other states of the country will be branded Apple Express, the official said.

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