Efforts underway to make J&K agri, food processing hub: Bhalla

Excelsior Correspondent

Minister for Horticulture Raman Bhalla addressing a seminar at SKICC on Tuesday.
Minister for Horticulture Raman Bhalla addressing a seminar at SKICC on Tuesday.

SRINAGAR, June 10: Saying that horticulture and its allied sectors are vital for state economy, the Minister for Housing, Horticulture and Youth Services & Sports, Raman Bhalla said that Government is giving focused attention to boost and rejuvenate horticulture and several landmark initiatives have been taken for its revitalization and development besides enhancing productivity by using modern technology.
The Minister said this while addressing day-long seminar on “Schemes of Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries” held at SKICC here today.
The seminar was organized jointly by J&K State Industrial Development Corporation (SIDCO) and National Mission on Food Processing, (NMFP) J&K.
Union Secretary Ministry of Food Processing Siraj Hassan, Financial Commissioner I&C Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, Union Joint Secretary Food Processing, Venketashvara, Secretary Horticulture, Sanjeev Verma, officers of State and Central Governments besides, large gathering of representative of Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Industries and entrepreneurs were present on the occasion.
Mr. Bhalla said that in-spite of being the largest apple producing state in the country; there are many challenges in existing supply chain which restricts farmers in realising the due value for their products. Government has taken several measures and launched various schemes to benefit farmers. He said to improve the functioning and work culture in horticulture and its allied sectors the Government is upgrading food processing industries so that people associated with this sector are benefitted besides ample employment opportunities are generated as well.
The Minister said development of horticulture sector is a prime priority of the Government and efforts to make J&K a leading agricultural and food processing hub of the country are underway and this can be achieved only through creating infrastructure for food processing and developing an efficient food supply chain in the state.
Mr. Bhalla said that Small Farmers Agri-Consortium (SFAC) concept is being implemented in the state to strengthen apple value chain besides developing food processing sector with an objective of facilitating value addition to the agriculture and allied productions and in this regard Government has decided to develop a holistic vision for the development of food processing sector. He said launch of HORTNET Portal is also a milestone for boosting horticulture industry.
Union Secretary Ministry of Food Processing Siraj Hassan in his address said that Jammu and Kashmir State has great potential for horticulture and allied sectors and Centre Government is ready to provide funds to implement different schemes. He emphasized upon the State Government authorities to involve more and more people in the horticulture sector so that they are able to get maximum benefit and good returns from the various schemes launched by the Union Ministry of Food Processing.
Financial Commissioner, I&C Khurshid Ahmad Ganai also spoke on the occasion and said that State has lot of scope for investment in horticulture sector and good avenues of employment and value addition besides, economic advantages for the farmers.
Commissioner Secretary Horticulture also threw light upon the development of horticulture industry.


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