Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has declared 2017 as ‘Year of Apple’ in a major bid to promote the famed Kashmiri apples in domestic and foreign markets. The Chief Minister launched the High Density Apple Plantation Scheme in Srinagar. These high-density plants will be routed through J&K Bank along with the subsidy. Under this scheme, state government provide high-density apple plants to the farmers. Government will provide 50% subsidy. The government is setting up mega mandies and high-tech cold storage to promote apple industry. These facilities would be be set up at Jablipora in Anantnag and Aglar in Pulwama in first stage, besides establishment of e-markets for the online sale of the produce. The government has launched a Market Intervention Scheme to stabilise the rates of apple produce and benefit growers. A network of mandies is being laid to maximise direct interface between growers and buyers,” said Ms. Mufti, while asking the J&K Bank authorities to slash down interest rates on the credit to be given to farmers under the scheme. The high density plants have a yield of 50-70 metric tonnes per hectare against 10-12 tonnes in case of conventional plants. J&K at 11.2 metric tonnes is the largest apple producing State in India, which accounts for 71% of national production. Jammu and Kashmir is the largest apple producing State in India at 11.2 metric tonnes, which accounts for 71% of national production, according to official figures. It may be recalled the High Density Apple Plantation Scheme was conceived by former Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to give a push to the horticulture industry of the State and after a year’s hectic ground work the scheme was today formally launched by the Chief Minister.