In a bid to introduce and promote Kashmir-based vegetables, spices and other agriculture commodities on the global marketing platform, the UT government recently sent the fourth consignment of Kashmir-specific vegetables, spices, cereals including the Kale, Turnip, Carrot, Radish, Broccoli, Lotus root and G.I tagged Saffron to Sharjah, Dubai. The initiative has been taken with the aim that the farmers, agriculture entrepreneurs and other stakeholders from the UT of J&K could play a role and experience new horizons of global agriculture economy. The Agriculture Production department is working on a long-term ambitious plan to strengthen agriculture sector in J&K and a number of initiatives including integrated farming approach, diversification of agriculture, organic way of cultivation, introduction of new marketing channels, MoUs with different stakeholders, e-marketing of saffron at IIKSTC Dussoo, etc have been taken. Besides the department has introduced Kashmir-specific vegetables and other agriculture products at different marketing platforms in and outside J&K. It may be mentioned here that earlier the UT government also sent Kashmir’s fresh fruit to UAE. These initiatives are undoubtedly going to give a boost to Kashmir’s agriculture and horticulture sectors, the mainstay of the region’s economy.
Another development that has a potential to introduce Kashmir to global economy is that Dubai-based realty firm Emaar Properties will develop a five lakh square feet shopping mall at Srinagar. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between the governments of Dubai and Jammu & Kashmir to facilitate investments into this proposed project. This will be the first significant FDI investment in the union territory. The EMAAR is also considering other investments into real estate, hospitality and mixed use commercial and residential projects in Jammu and in Srinagar. These are all positive developments and will go a long way to boost J&K’s economy. It goes without saying that the Union Territory has suffered hugely on economic from past almost three decades due to the volatile situation here and since the spread of pandemic, the economy has been hit further. The UT administration has been working on different fronts and has been able to create a very attractive investment landscape and it is because of that this FDI project has materialized. However, there is much more to be done to help the fragile economy. While working towards attracting outside investments, development of tourism infrastructure etc., the administration’s main focus should be agriculture and horticulture sectors that are the corner stone of UT’s economy and have potential to create more and more employment. For this to happen, the farmers need hand-holding by the government and also access to the modern technology in the respective fields. The concerned departments have been doing some good job by introducing high density crops and plants but the process is to be made wide spread. Secondly, the administration need to solely focus on exporting the agriculture and horticulture products of Kashmir to outside, particularly UAE as it is the nearest international market. During Cherry season, the administration need to made it a priority to export fresh cherry to UAE as the fruit has very little shelf life and hardly reaches the markets outside Jammu and Kashmir.