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Sanjeev Verma chairs workshop on promotion of wood-based industries in J&K

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JAMMU: Department of Social Forestry J&K in collaboration with Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Science & Technology (SKUAST)-Jammu today organised a one-day workshop to facilitate the consultation amongst stakeholders to promote the development of Wood Based Industries in Jammu as well as in Kashmir region.

The one-day event was chaired by Commissioner Secretary, Forest, Ecology & Environment Department, Sanjeev Kumar Verma.

While speaking on the occasion, he appreciated the initiative which could go a long way in identifying the strength areas and challenges in promoting the development of Wood Based Industries in UT of Jammu and Kashmir.

He emphasised on strengthening the institutional linkage between Farmers, Industries, and Research Institutions for sustainable growth of Wood Based Industries in the UT.

Speaking on the occasion, Vice Chancellor SKAUST Jammu, Dr. J.P Sharma, stressed diversification, value addition of agriculture products, and adoption of secondary agriculture.

He also advised focusing on the entrepreneurship development of rural youth of the district.

He suggested the scientists to work on collaborative projects with Social Forestry Department and insisted for the participation of officers from the forest department in programme of KVKS of SKUAST-Jammu.

Forest trees and medicinal fruits have immense potential in kandi areas and are viable options as an alternative source of income. Agroforestry helps in encouraging apiculture by planting forest trees as Bee Flora.

PCCF &HoFF J&K Forest Department, Dr. Mohit Gera informed that Farm Forestry has the potential of optimizing the production level of land and enhancing the profits to the farmers.

The tree plantation on non-forest land including private farmlands is an important source of raw material for Wood Based Industries after the imposition of a ban on Green Felling in natural forests. In J&K and about 164 Nos. of Plywood Industries are presently functioning in the UT which requires a continuous supply of good quality raw material. Presently about 80 lacs Cfts of Timber is imported by J&K to meet its domestic needs. Therefore, there is an important need to boost the production of suitable timber species to bridge the gap between demand and supply. Agroforestry has a huge potential to generate employment opportunities, increase the income of farmers and boost industrial activities as has been demonstrated in the states like Haryana, Punjab, and western UP.

PCCF/Director, Department of Social Forestry, J&K, Roshan Jaggi while delivering his opening remarks informed that the Department of Social Forestry in the last four decades has played a key role in establishing the culture of Tree Farming outside the Forest areas which has been a major source of raw material to Wood Based Industrial units like Plywood, Plyboards, Cricket Bats, Pencils, Joinery and other allied fields. To meet the growing demand for Wood Based Industries, Department of Social Forestry is taking initiatives to involve Progressive Farmers/Growers in adopting innovative models of Agroforestry emerging technologies which has the potential to boost economic activity, generate employment opportunities apart from environmental benefits.

The participants were drawn from Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, Himalayan Forest Research Institute (HFRI), SKUAST Jammu and Kashmir, and also representatives of various wood-based industries based in Kashmir as well as the Jammu region. A large number of Progressive Farmers/ Tree Growers and prospective industry developers showed keen interest during the day-long discussion.

The various issues of the availability of quality planting material to growers, enhancing productivity through improved technology interventions suitable mix of plant species to enhance the economic viability of Agroforestry practices and developing market facilities for growers were deliberated and recommendations were made based on inputs of stakeholders.

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