Dulloo reviews progress on Cluster Development Programme in Shopian Apple Cluster at 1st UT level monitoring committee meeting


SRINAGAR : Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Agriculture Production Department (APD), Atal Dulloo today chaired first meeting of the UT level monitoring committee to review the progress regarding Cluster Development Programme being implemented in district Shopian-Apple Cluster.

The meeting was attended by Managing Director, J&K Horticulture Produce, Marketing and Processing Corporation (JKHPMC), Director Horticulture Kashmir, Director Horticulture Planning & Marketing, representative of National Horticulture Board and other concerned.

The meeting was informed that Shopian has been identified as ‘Apple Cluster’ in UT of J&K and JKHPMC has been designated as cluster Development Agency (CDA) for implementation of the Cluster Development Programme (CDP) of MoA&FW, GoI in the Apple Cluster-District Shopian.

The ACS was informed that in Shopian, an area of 26,237 Ha of land is under Horticulture Plantation, out of which 21,707 Ha of land is under ‘Apple’ crop. It was given out that the total fruit crop production is 2,53,702 MT, of which 2,37,430 MT is of ‘Apple’ production and about 60,000 farmers are associated with cultivation of apple crop in nine major blocks in Shopian and about 70% of the productions is recorded from five major blocks.

ACS was informed that the programme is to be implemented in a span of four years with the broad objective of making Shopian apple globally competitive by supporting the interventions at three major verticals which include: Pre-production & Production, Post-harvest Management and Value Addition & Logistics, Marketing & Branding.

In this regard, the meeting was informed that the Cluster Development Agency has established a cluster development cell (CDC) with a team of officers for the smooth implementation of the programme while as the financial assistance and overall implementation of the programme is to be provided by NHB.

It was further given out that the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW), has nominated the Programme Management Unit (PMU) M/s Grant Thorton for providing technical assistance to NHB and CDA for the effective implementation of the cluster development programme.

The meeting was told that JKHPMC along with team of Horticulture Production Department and M/s Grant Thorton carried out extensive survey/research of Shopian district and its adjoining areas, mapped the available infrastructure in the cluster and picked up the areas of focus, following which a comprehensive Cluster Gaf Assessment Report (CGAR) was drafted and subsequently the CGAR was submitted to NHB/MoA&FW for the necessary view.

The broad objectives of CDP is to address horticulture concerns in the value chain; reduce Post-Harvest losses; introduce innovative technologies and practices in the focus cluster; converge with various government initiatives of the same concern and capacity building of stakeholders.

The meeting also discussed CDP outreach activities, stakeholders consultations: CDA facilitated PMU team with several round of various stakeholders meetings for better insight into the gaps of the cluster at the field level.

Highlighting the need to make the programme more fruitful, ACS asked the concerned officers to incorporate experts from Sher-e- Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) and Central Institute of Temperate Horticulture (CITH) in monitoring committee.

With regard to the identification of land in the Shopian district, Dulloo directed the officers to take up the matter with Divisional Commissioner Kashmir or Deputy Commissioner Shopian.

He also asked the concerned to constitute the evaluation committee at the earliest so that the programme would be implemented in the district as soon as possible.

The meeting also discussed Common Incubation Centres of Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India, under Prime Minister’s Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM-FME) Scheme.

Dulloo was informed that MoFPI has sanctioned three incubation centres for JKHMPC under PM-FME Scheme and a common incubation Center shall provide infrastructure support, plant and machinery, food testing laboratory, provide basic amenities like electricity, water etc and guidance & support with the help of mentor institute.

The sanctioned JKHPMC’s CICs are to be established at Doabgah Sopore ODOP (at an approve cost project Rs 209.03 lakh), Achabal Anantnag, ODOP (230.49 lakh) and Narwal Jammu ODOP (267.88 lakh) with salient features of packaging, storage, secondary processing, territory processing and ETP, Waste & By-product utilization. The main objective of CICs is to support the establishment of Common Incubation facility for One District One Product (ODOP and allied products; utilize the established common incubation facility on commercial basis for processing of products and offer short and long term hands-on training (Skill Development) to rural youth, women self help groups (SHGs), producers, students, new and experienced entrepreneurs & other stakeholders.

The meeting also discussed the implementation as per they MOFPI, GoI’s guidelines and milestones, funding pattern etc.