Core team of Tata Sons, which is on a three-day visit to Kashmir for their possible engagements in public and private partnership efforts in various sectors of the state, on Wednesday held interactions with horticulture players and conducted field visits.
The team comprising of Girish Krishnamurthy, Vice President & Head- Strategic Initiatives, Chairman’s Office, Tata Group; Venguswamy Ramaswamy, Senior Vice President & Global Head-TCS iON; Shankar Ranganathan, Principal TSMG visited various public sector institutions and private orchard areas in order to have first-hand feel of the horticulture sector in Kashmir.
The visiting team was accompanied by Director Horticulture Kashmir Ajaz Ahmad Bhat, Director Agriculture Kashmir Ajaz AltafAndrabi and Managing Director Shafat Sultan and other officers of Horticulture Department, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders.
While interacting with the team, Director Horticulture-Kashmir and Managing Director-JKHPMC gave full resume of horticulture sector in the valley, its importance and the possible areas of concern for engagements.
Director Horticulture Kashmir informed the group that Horticulture is the key sector of economy of the state with a turnover of Rs 8000 crores and engages as many as 7 lakh families involving a population of 35-40 lakh people. Director Horticulture Kashmir also identified certain areas which form the course of concern and require immediate attention for overall interests of the growers and highlighted the importance of expansion of more and more area under Ultra High Density plantation especially Apple in relation to better packaging practices for scientific promotion of horticulture sector for earning better returns.
Director Horticulture Kashmir stressed upon investments in post-harvest management viz. establishment of CA stores, improving value addition of fruit crops and use of reefer vans in order to ensure that better returns results out of the produce. Other sectors requiring attention as identified by Director Horticulture Kashmir and put before the team included processing units and use of bio fertilizers/pesticides to ward off the harmful effects of fertilizers/pesticides on the ultimate produce in line with ensuring good hygiene of the produce.
At the end Director Horticulture Kashmir assured the core group of full cooperation at every stage of engagements in Horticulture sector for upgrading this key sector of economy. Later the group visited IGC, Lassipora, Pulwama and interacted with prospective entrepreneurs & other stakeholders.