‘Govt promoting agripreneurship as a means of high return’
JAMMU: Agriculture is a key and essential part of human civilization and forms the core societal development of any region.
In Jammu and Kashmir economy is predominately agriculture dependent and nearly 70% of population is directly or indirectly engaged in agricultural and allied activities.
The J&K government works on a vision on daily basis to look beyond subsistence agriculture by leveraging special agro-climatic conditions of the Union Territory for securing high returns to the farmers from transformed and modern sustainable and inclusive agriculture interventions. Also with the introduction of innovative and globally validated farm technologies, raising of the requisite state of the art infrastructure and creation of an enabling ecosystem, agriculture sector is being developed on modern lines across length and breadth of J&K.
The mission of J&K Administration is to secure a complete transformation in the lives and outlook of the farmers of the UT from subsistence to modern, vibrant and high return agriculture by the end of year 2023. The objective of government is also to dispel the image of agriculture as a means of sustenance and to promote in a big way agripreneurship as a means of high return and respectable employment. They are also making maximum effort for aggregating Farmers Interest Groups (FIGs) particularly youth and women and Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) in product specific clusters to meet the objectives of Atamnirbhar Bharat and making the most of funding and opportunities available under various CSS for securing the welfare of farmers of the Union Territory.
In recent years, mechanization of farming sector is an important step to transform the agriculture sector which will help farmers to produce more. As a part of agricultural mechanization support to the farmers for broader economic transformation, Lieutenant Governor of J&K handed over sanction letters for 100 tractors to the farmers and 1035 threshers for panchayats. The government is also setting up Custom Hiring centres and Farm Machinery Banks in different parts of the union territory. As many as 151 custom hiring centres and 122 farm machinery banks have been started so far.
Agriculture sector and Horticulture sector are key drivers of J&Ks economic growth and efficient use of seed technologies, high-density plantation, nutrient management and widespread adoption of integrated dairy farming schemes to make Jammu-Kashmir agriculture powerhouse. Facilities have been provided like cold-storage, market linkages and food-processing units, besides developing a strong framework for farmer industry connect and generating employment opportunities for rural youth to bridge the rural-urban divide.
Moreover till recent months, direct financial assistance has been provided to 11.7 lakh farmers through the Kissan Credit Card and incentives worth Rs. 1,706 crore have been disbursed to more than a million beneficiaries under the PM-KISAN scheme.
Extending Technology benefits to farmers, the government distributed Paddy/Maize threshers to 3000 Panchayats which will be distributed to all Panchayats soon.
Also, 1.29 lakh soil samples being tested during current year, 56,426 soil health cards (SHCs) have been distributed besides more than 1 lakh quintals of quality seed has also been distributed among farmers to amplify the production and make them economically sustainable. The government has also launched several other remarkable initiatives to develop the agricultural sector of J&K.
Under National Saffron Mission, irrigation infrastructure inclusive of sprinkler system has been started which is connected to 126 deep production wells. As a result of this, around 2578.75 hectares of land stands rejuvenated till date. The implementation of Mission has also ensured substantial increase in the crop yields from 1.88 kg/Ha to 4.5 kg/Ha which in turn has ultimately doubled the income of saffron growers.
The government has also started several marketing initiatives to make the agricultural sector of J&K more viable. G.I. tagging for Saffron and Guchi (Wild Mushroom) of Doda has given remarkable strides to acclaimed Saffron of Kashmir in international market as well to the Guchi Mushroom.
Moreover, organic Certification of Basmati Rice of R.S. Pura has also increased the marketing value for the rice.
Similarly, other remarkable achievements like Lal Mirch harvested on 1182 Ha, Sweet Corn harvested on 160 Ha(6105 Qtl), Exotic vegetable has been harvested over 125 Ha and others have generated massive returns for the farmers.
In a bid to give major boost to agriculture sector in Jammu and Kashmir, the UT government signed a pact with New Zealand for the transformation of the sheep farming sector in the Union Territory. The overarching objective of the pact is to improve farmer’s remuneration, transfer of technology in research and development as well marketing and value addition of sheep products of Jammu-Kashmir.
Online registration certification has also started in Jammu and Kashmir to facilitate registration and ensure growth in organic farming. For the first time in history, 2000 trucks of vegetables have been exported from Jammu and Kashmir to other parts of the country. Jammu and Kashmir has achieved top position in the entire country with a yield of 70 quintals per hectare of paddy.
Moreover, 60,000 hectares of basmati agriculture land is being converted into high productivity land. In last one year, a record 5400 metric tonnes of mushroom and 22,182 quintals of honey has been produced. Kisan Credit Cards have been made available to more than 11 lakh 60 thousand farmers.
To give more boost to Agriculture sector here, Agriculture department has also decided to collaborate with Amazon Fresh which has evinced a keen interest in Fruit & Vegetable assortment available in Jammu with the motive of expanding network in North India. Jammu is also going to have a collection/procurement centre next year. To provide market for Kashmiri Saffron, National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) has decided that it will sell Kashmiri Saffron at all its outlets across the country, thereby providing another option to the farmers to sell their produce at attractive prices.
Apart from saffron, Jammu and Kashmir is number one in the whole country in the production of apple, walnut and almond and the upcoming industries in the food processing sector will help farmers income to grow manifold in the coming days.
As agriculture sector is the driving force of J&Ks economy, the reforms brought by the J&K government in the recent months for the development and progression of agriculture sector are yielding encouraging results. (Report by DIPR-JK)