The Minister for Horticulture is mulling for establishing a Horticulture University in the State. He has met with the Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmer Welfare in New Delhi and broached the matter. The Union Minister appears to have given a positive response and now the Horticulture Department will work on the concept and formulate a proposal to this effect.
University is the main medium of disseminating knowledge and preparing expertise in various fields of study. A Horticulture University will churn out horticulture graduates who will demand employment in the department. The first thing which the department is required to consider is what will be its yearly requirement of horticulture graduates to fill vacant posts in the department. Secondly, the department needs to take stock of its manpower requirements under existing system.
Of the three regions of the State, only Kashmir has considerable horticulture production worth marketing. In fact, apple production and marketing exercise gives the valley a prestigious place. What is urgently needed is the expertise in protection and diversification of apple industry in the state. The contemplated Horticulture University has to be essentially a research institute to cater to a variety of requirements for improving our horticultural production. Researches have to be made in finding effective chemicals, insecticides, etc. that would protect the fruit without adversely affecting its quality, colour and taste. Researches have to be made extensively in soil testing and its chemical formation to know for what kind horticultural product it would be useful. It has to be remembered that according to existing laws, it is rather difficult to convert arable land into horticulture land. While we are thinking about expanding horticulture industry in the State we must also know our limitations.
Finally while we welcome the idea of establishing a Horticulture University in the State, we would also like the department to set forth ultimate goals of the university, which according to our thinking should be intense researches rather than just churning out graduates.