Farming sector top priority of UT govt: LG
Promises handholding of farming community, 4 pesticide labs, modern storage systems
Jammu: With Prime Minister Narendra Modi disbursing Rs 18000 crore under PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi among the farmers in Uttar Pradesh, a programme was held here at Kisan Kendra, Jammu also where the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha addressed the farmers.
Speaking on the occasion, LG said that the farmers of Jammu and Kashmir have been provided with financial assistance worth around Rs 1132 crore under the scheme. He outlined that the welfare of the farmers and betterment of their livelihood is the prime focus of the Union as well as UT government.
The UT government, he said has taken comprehensive measures for the development of the agriculture and allied sectors in J&K.
“100% coverage under PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi has been ensured in J&K so that no beneficiary is left behind in availing the benefits of the scheme,” Sinha added.
To achieve the tangible results, the government, he said is extending sustained handholding and support to the farming community, facilitating the rapid growth in the agriculture and its allied sectors for improving productivity and profitability of farmers.
“With an aim to promote farm mechanization and creating self-sufficient villages, in this financial year, 500 tractors with Rs 2 lakh subsidy, besides power tillers, paddy planters and threshers are being distributed among the farmers across J&K,” the LG maintained.
According to an official press release, emphasizing on better storage provisions for farm produce, the LG stressed on the need for establishing modern storage systems in the UT. Four pesticide laboratories and soil testing labs are also being set up in Jammu and Kashmir, he added.
The LG said that the promotion of agriculture, horticulture, dairy and poultry sectors are our priorities and the administration is going to take every step for the development of these sectors. He also underscored the importance of launching a massive campaign to make farmers aware of land use and other facets of modern agriculture.
“I have identified four issues that are being addressed on priority – increasing productivity through intervention of technology, ensuring best price and market support, mitigation of risks and diversification through allied activities,” the LG said.
“We are working out the prioritization and convergence wherever required to make our efforts more effective in improving the viability, profitability, and sustainability of agriculture and allied sectors,” he added.
Around 70 percent of the population of Jammu & Kashmir is engaged in agriculture and its allied sectors. It is imperative that the administration set up a large number of modern granaries, cold storages and modern agriculture equipment so that the local farmers are able to double their income in the next two years, the LG maintained.
He said that through custom hiring centres, which are being set up for assisting small and marginal farmers, such farmers can easily borrow expensive machinery.
Highlighting the measures taken by the government in fostering agriculture and allied sectors, the LG said the government is providing 50 percent subsidy for starting a fodder plant. Similarly, for setting up a dairy with 50 cows, a 50 percent subsidy is being provided by the administration, besides 50 percent subsidy is also being provided for setting up milk chilling and processing plants, said the LG.
To increase flow of bank credit to small and marginal farmers, more focus is being given by the administration to this segment, the credit disbursal targets of agriculture and allied sectors for the current financial year increased by 2.5 times against the last year disbursement, said the LG.
The LG also termed high density plantation, intercropping and diversification in agriculture as the need of the hour. In the near future, around 1900 hectare area is going to be brought under high density apple plantation. It would help increase income of apple growers four times, he added.
“It is heartening to see that the youth is also showing interest in taking agriculture as a career. Many of them are growing exotic vegetables which are in great demand in cities. I remember a graduate from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Isha Rasul, who with her breakthrough experiments in organic farming had helped the farmers in establishing a seed bank and is working on high-intensity farming. Like Isha Rasool from Kashmir division, we also have Chaman Lal from Sunderbani, Rajouri, who has earned Rs 8 Lakhs just by growing exotic vegetables in mere 1.5 hectare land. There is no dearth of facilities and resources. The administration is working day and night to uplift the farmers of Jammu & Kashmir,” the LG maintained.
Farmers from both divisions of the UT are being connected to the other markets of India through E-NAM at Narwal Jammu and Parimpora Srinagar. Innovative measures are being taken catering to the irrigation needs of the farmers. Jeevika Initiative, Udhampur has led to a new approach of integrated and remunerative farming, besides the number of bore-wells is being increased to benefit the farmers. In Jammu division, work is on to install 265 bore-wells and to provide subsidy to the farmers for the pump sets, Sinha said.
The agro-climatic conditions of the region are conducive for crops like basmati, saffron, kidney beans, honey, apples, cherry, walnuts, strawberry and flowers. There is a huge market waiting for our farmers in other parts of the country, he continued.
Recently, Kashmir Saffron has been given a GI tag which would help in its promotion and export throughout the world. Lulu Group from Abu Dhabi is going to set up a food processing plant in J&K. The United Arab Emirates is going to import products from Jammu & Kashmir directly. Bhaderwah Rajma, Kishtwar pear, Doda-Poonch walnut, Aamrapali and Mallika mangoes of Jammu, pecan nuts of Poonch and litchi from Reasi would also be given GI tags through the efforts of the Administration, observed the LG.
Speaking on the agricultural reforms, the LG said that the agricultural reforms by the Central government are for the betterment of the farmers. Under the reforms, the farmers would be free to cultivate their land and sell their produce according to their wish, he added.
“I would assure that the farmers are equally allowed to sell their produce at their own price as they are to sell at the Minimum Support Price (MSP). Post implementation of the latest reforms, the trade at agriculture markets throughout the country has increased and there has been no shutdown. To dispel the fears pertaining to ‘contract farming’, I would assure that the contract is limited to exchange of goods and not the land. There is no mention of land in these reforms,” said the LG.
Later, the LG inspected the stalls installed by the “progressive farmers” showcasing their produce and interacted with the farmers, the press release said.
It said Farooq Khan, Advisor to the LG, BVR Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary; Navin Kumar Choudhary, Principal Secretary, Agriculture Production and Farmer’s Welfare Department; Prof JP Sharma, Vice-Chancellor, SKUAST-Jammu; Sanjeev Verma; Divisional Commissioner, Jammu; R.K Srivastava, Chief General Manager, NABARD, J&K; Inderjeet, Director Agriculture Jammu; HoDs; senior officers and scores of farmers from across the UT were present on the occasion.