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Fruit exports from Kashmir touch Rs.4,200 crore

Jammu, March 15 (IANS) Fruit exports from Jammu and Kashmir registered a turnover of Rs.4,200 crore in the financial year 2012-13, state Agriculture Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir said here Friday.

"The turnover on account of exports of fruit has reached a level of Rs.4,200 crore in the state as on date," Mir told the state assembly while responding to a question during a discussion on grants for the agriculture department.

The minister also said that 90 percent of the country's apple demand was fulfilled by the state.

"The Kashmir Valley is proud to meet 90 percent of apple requirement of the country. It is our duty to launch new post-harvest projects in partnership with private and public sectors to fulfil the market demand and help the growers," Mir said.

The minister said the state government has adopted many strategies to promote agriculture and allied sectors on scientific lines. "Agriculture being the backbone of the state's economy, resources are being pooled in to give fillip to production and productivity," he said.

There has been a shift in focus from cultivation of food grain to diversification of the state's agriculture produce, according to the minister.

"High income generating crops like fruits, flowers, vegetables, medicinal plants and allied sectors like sericulture have been incentivised. This will increase agriculture income and help generate gainful employment in the farm sector," Mir said.

Noting that saffron is a heritage cash crop of the state, the minister said: "An ambitious mission with an investment of Rs.372.18 crore has been launched to rejuvenate saffron production in the state. Production of saffron is expected to double by the end of four years," he said.

Jammu and Kashmir produces about nine tonnes of saffron annually.

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