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Srinagar, Sep 24 (UNI) Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra today assured the fruit growers of the Kashmir valley that the proposal to bring the horticulture produce under the insurance cover would be examined urgently and all possibilities would be explored to establish a viable venture for manufacturing juice out of fallen and culled fruit.

In a meeting, lasting for over two hours, with the representatives of the fruit growers and forwarding agents of the Valley here, Mr Vohra suggested formation of cooperative societies, comprising all those associated with the horticulture industry, especially the small and marginal fruit growers, for setting up of mini and mega juice plants in the private sector.

Mr Vohra said the State Government would consider incentives for such juice plants, as these could be a viable answer for treating the culled and fallen apple, besides generating gainful employment opportunities.

He observed that successful approaches followed in the neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, which has emerged as one of the leading apple producing states in the country, must be studied.

The Governor was informed that the Valley has a 10,000 MT- capacity Apple and Juice Plant at Duabgah, near Sopore, and 13 other small plants, having 300-400 MT capacity. The existing capacity is grossly inadequate to cater to the needs of the orchardists.

Referring to the demands for expeditious completion of the Fruit Mandis and Cold Storages, currently under execution across the Valley, the Governor said he will soon be reviewing their status and wherever need be, additional funds would be released.

Discussing the viability of card-board cases for fruit packing, as an alternative to shooks, the Governor directed the Horticulture Produce and Marketing Department to ensure the required availability of card-board cases to orchardists on immediate basis.

Responding to the demand of more trucks for transporting fruit to different Mandis of the country, particularly in the wake of huge stocks awaiting transportation at Sopore, the Governor directed the Director, Horticulture Planning&Marketing, to immediately visit the town for coordinating the transport arrangements.

The meeting, inter-alia, reviewed the arrangements being made for timely dispatch of fruit to the plains, rescheduling of the old loans, financial support for Mandis, implementation of the Market Intervention Scheme and timely supply of fruit saplings to growers.

The Governor stressed the need for regular interaction between the concerned Government agencies and the representatives of the growers and the dealers, including the commission and forwarding agents, for sorting out issues, arising from time to time.

UNI BAS FMH GL HS1740

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