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Govt signs pact with New Zealand for transforming sheep farming sector

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Objective is to improve farmers' remuneration, transfer of technology, marketing & value addition of sheep products of J&K: LG

Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Thursday signed a pact with New Zealand for the transformation of the sheep farming sector in the Union territory, officials said.

The agreement between the two sides was signed through the virtual mode in the presence of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha. The agreement was signed by Navin Choudhary, Principal Secretary of Animal & Sheep Husbandry Department and Mischa Mannix-Opie, Executive Director, New Zealand G2G as a mutual commitment between J&K and New Zealand for complementing each other’s capability in sheep sector, an official press release informed.

Speaking on the occasion, the LG observed that the new partnership between J&K and New Zealand will boost production and productivity in livestock sector of the UT.

“Overarching objective of the MoC is to improve farmers’ remuneration, transfer of technology in research & development as well as marketing & value addition of sheep products of J&K,” the LG said.

“New Zealand is an important partner of India’s expanding relationship globally and we attach special values to our ties not only because of deep bonding and cultural affinities but also from a mature understanding of our strategic convergences, global interests and  economic potential,” observed the LG.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern believe in shared commitment to promote ideals of democracy, peace and prosperity for the people. Despite turbulent events of global pandemic since the last two years, there has been almost seamless continuity in India-New Zealand relationship, said the LG.

This year marks 70th anniversary of commencement of bilateral relations between our two countries. It gives us opportunity to strengthen our partnership and our resolve to construct a strong edifice of a long term, mutual reinforcing economic relationship, he added.

“Now, expanding our relationship further, New Zealand G2G, the well known public sector entity actively partnering with other Indian states to leverage expertise and solutions for sustainable development has entered into a cooperation agreement with J&K to encourage collaboration in the field of sheep husbandry, capacity building, technology transfer and training.

“The new partnership is aimed at doubling produce in the next three years with substantial increment in quality of livestock products, wool production and introducing processing facilities and value addition to boost income and benefits to Jammu Kashmir,” the LG added.

“We are creating an enabling environment for the integrated growth of livestock sector which is providing livelihood support to around 1.2 million families and contributing 5 percent to the Union Territory’s GDP.”

The LG also said that Government of Jammu & Kashmir has unleashed unprecedented reforms in various spheres in the last two and half years.

“An innovative & self sustaining Integrated Sheep Development Program was launched during 2020-21 with an aim to supplement livestock production & build entrepreneurship in the sector.”

The LG reaffirmed that the leadership of the two countries believes in the huge potential for our economic and commercial cooperation.

“We are committed to create conditions, which would facilitate the rapid growth of this cooperation. I am confident this cooperation agreement between New Zealand G2G and Jammu Kashmir Union Territory is just the beginning of widening and deepening of our relationship in the future,” the LG added.

David Pine,  New Zealand’s High Commissioner expressed hope that the cooperation of agreement shall further strengthen the relationship between J&K and New Zealand and help in achieving the desired results on ground.

Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Sectary, J&K said that the MoC is a timely step to add further momentum to our excellent bilateral ties and to facilitate greater institutional linkages between J&K, India and New Zealand. This will improve our practices in the sheep farming sector and increase the income of everyone associated with it.

Mischa Mannix-Opie, Executive Director, New Zealand G2G said that the latest scientific interventions shall be extended to J&K which shall entail marketing of livestock products like wool for adding value to farmers produce.

Navin Kumar Choudhary, Principal Secretary to Government, Animal & Sheep Husbandry Department, while speaking on the broad contours of the MoC, said that the new initiative shall have a direct impact on farmer’s remuneration and make necessary improvement in sheep farming sector in J&K.

“It will enhance mutton production, value addition of livestock products, capacity building, technology transfer, greater education and trainings in J&K for the benefit, welfare and prosperity of both current and future generations,” he added.

New Zealand Trade Commissioner for South Asia, Ralph Hays; Director Oceania, Ruby Jaspreet; Commercial Manager G2G, Erin Mehar, besides HoDs of concerned departments and other senior officers attended the MoC signing ceremony in person and through virtual mode, the press release informed.

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