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Focus on agriculture and allied sectors

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A divisional-level orientation cum training programme titled ‘Production of designer plants for promotion of high-density plantation and rejuvenation of orchids’ was held on Jan 11 at Srinagar wherein the officials of agriculture and horticulture department spoke about the holistic development of agriculture and allied sectors asserting that the UT administration have designs projects in in this regard in consonance with the available resources, opportunities, technological interventions and desirable targets to give boost to these sectors. While the government has been formulating policies vis-à-vis these sectors, it is the effective implementation of these programmes that will revolutionize these sectors and generate employment opportunities for young farmers and other stakeholders.Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has repeatedly been saying that a sustained focus on modernized agriculture, animal husbandry, and food processing has every potential to make the country self-sufficient and will reduce the dependence on imports.Agriculture and related sectors are the back bone of India’s economy and its modernization is key to India’s becoming a global leader. Unfortunately, these sectors were always neglected and left to traditional way for farming without any scientific intervention. Lack of modern technology did huge damage to these sectors and as a result, people started drifting away from farming. The youth lost interest as the sectors were not able to ensure proper livelihood. Now that the union government is pitching for giving a boost to the sector and introduce modern technologies, hopefully the farming will become profitable and thus attractive for the youth who alone can revolutionize the sector by using modern and scientific technologies.Need is to have a holistic approach to the agriculture and allied sectors be that horticulture, animal or sheep husbandry, fisheries and dairy products. These are the activities that if clubbed together, will make these sectors attractive for the educated youth.

It goes without saying that farming, fisheries and raring of sheep and other live stock is almost an exclusive activity of rural areas. If not every farmer but a larger number is of those who own at least one cow or some sheep. They have avenues available to go for the activities under animal and sheep husbandry schemes but don’t do so because of the redtapism and back-breaking formalities that the concerned departments want them to fulfill. Bringing all the sectors together, which J&K UT government has already done, would ensure that all schemes for welfare of the population engaged in these sectors are available under one umbrella in a single department and therefore the benefits of various schemes available in these sectors can be converged and made available to farmers, orchardists and others as a comprehensive package.Like other states and UTs of the country, Jammu and Kashmir too has huge potential in agriculture and allied sectors. The UT administration is adopting an integrated approach to tackle agriculture’s extreme vulnerability to ensure increased productivity and enhanced resilience and the approach is farmer and community-centric enabling greater farmer participation in policies and ensuring their suggestions are taken into account in decision-making and benefit from increased productivity, diversification, access to credit, and required technical assistance. This approach is undoubtedly going to enable and strengthen market access for small and marginal farmers. But, as mentioned earlier, the key is the implementation of all the programmes. Jammu and Kashmir has a bitter experience of official promises and claims. Hopefully, this time it is different.

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