Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir government has embarked on a mission to cultivate dates on a massive scale.
Last year, the horticulture department in collaboration with a team of experts from Rajasthan planted 50 date trees on an experimental basis in the Samba district of Jammu.
“These plants have shown promising results. Date trees will need at least 4-5 years to yield a crop,” said director of horticulture Jammu Ram Sevak.
The expert team has found the climate conducive to date cultivation in Udhampur, Majalta, Reasi, and Kathua.
“We are trying to promote Jammu as a date-growing region. We have identified areas where the dates can be grown. We are hopeful that the farmers will reap the benefits in coming years,” Sevak said.
He said date cultivation in Jammu can become a game changer for the farmers in Jammu.
“A single date plant can generate Rs 25,000 for a farmer once it starts yielding fruit. At least 160 date trees can be planted on one hectare of land. It means a farmer can earn Rs 40 lakh per hectare. We are convincing the farmers to grow date trees for posterity,” Sevak said.
Director of horticulture said that date cultivation is cost-effective and requires low maintenance.
“A date tree lives up to 100 years, which means that farmers can reap benefits for long. As per the survey, this crop can grow well in some areas of Jammu,” he said.
In India, dates are grown in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Gujarat.
Gujarat produces 171522 MT of dates annually. India is one of the biggest consumers of dates. Over 52000 metric tons of table dates are being consumed in India annually.
Farmers too are excited about the horticulture department’s new initiative to state date cultivation in Jammu.
“It is really a good initiative. The farmers are now preparing their land to sow date plants on a massive scale,” said Rakesh Sharma, a farmer.