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Maiden apple festival kicks off in Kashmir valley

New Delhi, Oct 28: Tourism aside, the Kashmir valley is known for its apple orchards and the freshly plucked apples that traders and hawkers entertain visitors with.

With an annual production of 2.2 million metric tonnes, apples from the region make up for 87 per cent of the total apple production in the country and provide livelihood to 30 per cent of the population in the valley.

It is but natural then that apple is interwoven into the ordinary lives in more ways than one. Leveraging on this unique aspect, the Centre on Thursday inaugurated the first ‘Apple Festival’ in Srinagar.

Inaugurating the festival through virtual mode, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said, apple and Kashmir who are synonymous with each other, is the main crop and this important event will provide a better platform to apple growers and other stakeholders.

The Narendra Modi government is making every effort to increase India’s reputation and credibility at the international level, Tomar said and commended the J&K administration for the development of agriculture in the UT with the funds provided under various schemes by the central government.

He said the festival under the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav will prove to be a milestone in increasing the income of the farmers. He said that high-density plantation has been done in 2300 hectare area under a special scheme in the UT and the largest quarantine center for high-density planting material is also being opened.

Lt Governor Shri Manoj Sinha said that agriculture and allied sector have a significant contribution to the GDP and most of the residents are dependent on agriculture, for whose upliftment the Central and UT Governments are working together.

He requested the scientists to bring the benefit of their research from the lab to the land and Sinha assured financial assistance to the farmers by the UT’s administration for the loss caused due to adverse weather in Jammu and Kashmir.

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