The horticulture department is providing apple growers with loans and subsidies for the construction of packing and grading sheds under the Prime Minister's Development Package (PMDP), announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 for Jammu and Kashmir.
The total cost of the construction of these packing and grading sheds is about Rs 5 lakhs, out of which Rs 2 lakhs is being given as subsidy by the Central government.
Apple growers say they were facing problems earlier after harvesting as they had no place to pack and grade their crops. Now they say that these sheds have solved their problems and increased life of the fruit.
"My house is around 2 kilometres far from my orchard. So, I face a lot of problems with packing and grading of apples. Then I thought of constructing a packing house. Department officials visited the site and guide me about the structure. The shelf life of apple has also increased. The Department of Horticulture is doing very good work," Tariq Paddar, an apple grower told .
Another apple grower Ishaq Ahmad said, "I constructed a shed with the help of the horticulture department under the PMDP scheme. I have spent Rs 5 lakh and got a subsidy of Rs 2 lakh by the government."
Asif Muzzafar Bodha, Horticulture Officer, Anantnag, said that the government is helping apple growers for constructing sheds under the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) and the PMDP.
"These sheds are now beneficial for apple growers. Whenever any progressive apple growers approached the department of horticulture, their technical officers always helped them," Bodha told .
"We give Rs 2 lakh subsidy. 90 per cent i.e. Rs 1,80,000 of subsidy is being provided by the Centre and Rs 20,000 by the Union Territory. Apple growers, who live far from their orchards, can keep their crop, fertilisers, other equipment in these packing sheds," he said.
Bodha said that people are now moving towards horticulture as they are getting the benefit.
"People can even earn more than a gazetted officer if they maintain orchard properly. They can also give employment to many people," he said.
( With inputs from ANI )