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J&K govt imports high-density walnut saplings from foreign countries

SRINAGAR, OCT 10: The Jammu and Kashmir government is actively working to boost the walnut industry by importing high-density walnut saplings from Turkey, Italy, and the Netherlands. This marks the first instance of importing high-density walnut saplings from these countries.

A senior official from the Horticulture Department mentioned that they have imported these saplings after conducting thorough discussions and research. “Starting from next year in March, farmers will be able to plant these high-density trees in their orchards,” stated the official.

The Horticulture Department has instructed growers to register online and acquire both high-density and medium-density walnut trees.

The official further explained that on a one-acre plot, a grower needs to make a one-time investment of around Rs 5 lakh, with the government offering a 50 percent subsidy.

Kashmir, formerly a major global walnut producer, lost its international market presence due to challenges such as low production resulting from traditional farming practices, prolonged growth periods, and the Indian government’s decision to reduce additional duties on walnuts imported from various countries.

The Jammu and Kashmir government’s introduction of a modified high-density plantation scheme for walnuts, along with other fruit crops, is aimed at revitalizing the walnut industry in Kashmir. This effort is crucial as the Himalayan region contributes to 95 percent of India’s stone fruit production.

Despite enduring years of losses, the high-density scheme, a part of J&K’s Holistic Agriculture Development Plan, has ignited hope among walnut growers. Many of them have taken the initiative to plant high-density trees, even without waiting for government-provided planting materials or subsidies. “We have planted high-density walnut saplings. We hope they will give fruits from next year,” said a farmer Abdul Hamid of Harwan in Srinagar.

The government has also extended its farmer-centric scheme, not limited to walnuts but also several other fruits. This scheme is set to run for six years, from March 2021 to March 2026.

Similar to the success seen with high-density apple cultivation, the adoption of high-density walnut varieties is expected to boost the industry’s profitability through enhanced yields, greater productivity per hectare, and early harvesting.

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