Srinagar, Mar 11: Fruit growers have a reason to rejoice as the apple production has crossed 19 lakh metric tonnes in Kashmir last year, an increase of over 1 lakh metric tonnes from 2018.
Data compiled by the Department of Horticulture reveals that Kashmir produced 19,53,314 metric tonnes of apple in 2019. Baramulla district topped the list with production touching 4,79,570 metric tonnes.
It was followed by the Kupwara district with 2,83,460 metric tonnes production. Bandipora district produced 50,385 metric tonnes of the apple crop. Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam and Anantnag districts in south Kashmir produced 256857, 144112, 222057 and 244553 metric tonnes of apples respectively.
The Valley had produced 18, 48,482 metric tonnes of apple in 2018. In 2017, 18, 57,222 metric tonnes of apple were produced compared to 16, 82,769 metric tonnes in 2016. The apple production in 2015 was 1915448 metric tonnes.
Officials said the devastating floods of 2014 had hit the horticulture sector very hard. That year the apple production in Kashmir was 11, 34,637 metric tonnes compared to 12, 89,551 in 2013.
In 2012 and 2011, apple production was recorded at 13, 21,317 and 17, 30,609 metric tonnes, respectively. 2010 was one of the profitable years for the growers when annual apple production touched 18, 22,058 metric tonnes.
Director Horticulture Aijaz Ahmad Bhat said the government incentives and the introduction of modern technology are the main reasons for achieving the feat.
“Modern technology has helped in increasing the production last year. Every kanal of land now gives Rs 50,000 to 70,000 returns to a grower. This is motivating other people to take to apple farming,” he said.
Bhat said the government is providing subsidies to the growers to embrace technology. “Motors, weeders and many machines are being provided to the growers on subsidized rates. Even we are now providing subsidy to growers for adopting high-density plantation,” he said.