Rajouri (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], September 10: In the wake of efforts by the horticulture department of Jammu and Kashmir and favourable climatic conditions, a bumper walnut crop produced in the Kotranka Budhal block of Rajouri district is ready to hit the market.
Speaking to ANI, the district horticulture officer of Rajouri Shafqat Hussain Khan said that the plants given to the farmers by the horticulture department under various schemes have finally borne fruit.
"There are two zones in Rajouri district- subtropical and temperate. We grow crops like citrus and mango in the subtropical zone. In the temperate zone that includes Kotranka Budhal, Thanamandi and Manjakot, walnut harvesting is going on right now," he stated.
"A premium quality of walnut, Kagzi (paper-shell) walnut is grown here in an organic way. There is no use of fertilisers and pesticides," he added.
Khan informed that the horticulture department promotes the plantation of various crops through different schemes.
"We give subsidy on various facilities like irrigation, machinery and vermicompost for organic farming," he said.
The officer further said that there is a lot of scope in the walnut plantation in the district and it gives a good income.
"Earlier, we used to give seeded plants to farmers that take 10 years to bear fruit, but now we have shifted to grafted plants that bear fruits within four to five years," he stated.
A walnut grower in Kotranka Budhal Shah Mohammad said that though Kotranka is a hilly area, many crops like apples, walnuts, corns are grown here.
"A bumper crop of walnuts has been produced this year. We grow different types of walnuts that are stored separately," he said.
"It takes a lot of hard work from contractors and labourers to grow walnut, so we would like to urge the government to facilitate the sales of the crops by establishing a fruit mandi here," he added.
He also said that the sales of the walnut were affected last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We faced losses as the walnut produced last year is still stored. So we are expecting support from the government in form of some compensation," he said. (ANI)