Uri: Suitable climatic condition of Uri in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district may have made the high value Mediterranean olive cultivation possible in the area, but the lack of facilities is playing the spoilsport.
Gurpinder Singh, a grower from Nowpora Salamabad, Uri, while sharing his experience said that lack of support from the horticulture department has resulted in little olive oil yield.
He said that had the department conducted awareness camps in the area it would have encouraged more and more people for the olive cultivation.
“Undoubtedly, it has huge economic benefits. However, due to lack of awareness and support from the department concerned the production has been low,” he said.
Another grower alleged that no concrete step has been taken by the authorities to ensure basic facility like irrigation which is core for the olive production.
“A proper irrigation system is important to olive cultivation. Despite our repeated pleas to the authorities for adequate irrigation facility nothing is being done.”
Highlighting another issue, he said the growlers are facing hardships in getting olive plants and had to often travel to Ramban in Jammu to get the plant.
The government must ensure availability of the plant here, Javed Iqbal, a grower said.
The department of horticulture has established a nursery of olive plants at Salamabad Uri, around two decades back which is spread over 20 kanals of land.
“The olive plant nursery at Uri, which is spread over 20 kanals is generating us one quintal of olive oil. The production can increase once irrigation facility is made possible,” Zahoor Ahmad Bhat, Chief Horticulture officer Baramulla, said.
An official of the Horticulture department said that Uri area has vast potential for the olive oil production owing to suitable climatic conditions like less snowfall in the winter and overall warm climatic conditions.
He however said that the biggest issue is the lack of irrigation facility besides technological support. He said if state administration will concentrate on this aspect “we can have a tremendous success story”.
Javed Iqbal while anticipating a good future for the olive plant growers in Uri said that little effort from the state administration can change the fortune of the Uri area.
He said the state administration need to take cue from Rajasthan Government which has grown olive plants in barren terrain.
He said, “The Rajasthan government showed a keen interest in the olive oil cultivation and after taking support from the technology, the state is now selling olive oil domestically,” he said.
The olive oil is considered heaving tremendous health benefits as it is rich in oleic acid which can help in prevent heart disease.