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CS stresses focus on agriculture extension and quality inputs to increase productivity

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Jammu: Chief Secretary, Atal Dulloo, today had a detailed review of the schemes under implementation here to revamp all the sectors of Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries in the UT.

Besides the Principal Secretary, APD the meeting was attended by Mission Director, Holistic Agriculture Development Programme (HADP); Secretary of Agriculture; HoDs of allied departments and other concerned officers.

Speaking in this meeting, the Chief Secretary observed that the Agriculture sector plays a pivotal role in changing our economy for the better as it has not yet been harnessed optimally as per our innate potential. He made out that there are a number of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) along with HADP currently under implementation in the UT that can be game changers in this direction if implemented successfully here.

He maintained that the main focus areas for the Department in the agriculture sector should be on the provisioning of quality agricultural inputs like seeds, rootstock, fertilizers, and equipment bolstered with agri extension for bringing substantial improvement in the productivity of our arable lands.

The Chief Secretary further pointed out that in order to enhance the capacity of our farmers, it is imperative to give them hands-on training about the use of new techniques and technology. He advised the Department to designate public/private farms of Agriculture, Poultry, Dairy, Sheep or Honey in each block here and nominate a trainer for each of them to bring knowledge of labs into practice in the field. He asked for targeting at least 2 lakh farmers for imparting such training in the next 5 years period.

Dulloo further shared that an extensive baseline survey of about 20000-25000 farmers from different areas should be carried out to know about their concerns, expectations, priorities, income, and awareness in addition to taking into consideration the fertility, profile, cropping pattern, weather and use of inputs and machinery by the farmers.

He expressed that this survey done under the University experts should be transformed into a well-crafted research document which would act as a book to reckon upon for guiding us in better implementation of our schemes here. He asked for having a symbiotic relationship between our agricultural universities and departments to take advantage of the resources and infrastructure available to them to obtain the desired outcomes in revolutionizing the agricultural sector in UT.

As far as bringing further ease to the farmers of J&K is concerned, the Chief Secretary asked for simplified procedures for availing of different government-sponsored benefits. He told them to provide them assistance in the preparation of quality DPRs and approvals from the credit lending institutions to seek timely financial help for the establishment of different units. He further directed for providing Smart Cards to the farmers availing credit facilities from financial institutions as per the RBI guidelines.

He asked to make sure to extend the crop insurance to the farmers to secure them from any losses happening due to calamities. He even told them to disseminate the literature and display other Audio-visual content to the youth to depict the success stories and profits made possible in agriculture. He asked for making this sector lucrative for them to get them attracted towards it.

Dulloo also stressed on having intense follow-up of all the key outcomes of each scheme under implementation here. He asked to make strenuous efforts to obtain GI tagging of all the products in the pipeline besides adding more to the list.

He asked for optimum exploitation of sectors like dairy development, food processing, high-density farming and value addition of the produce as these have greater potential and higher returns to offer. He even called for having export plans for the niche crops here and adding more items like walnuts and kiwi to the e-NAM in addition to the apple already there.

In his presentation, the Principal Secretary, APD, Shailendra Kumar informed about the progress made in each scheme under implementation here. He gave an overview of expenditures made under Capex, CSS and HADP till date. He even apprised about the plans of the Department to make the agriculture sector a thriving enterprise here in the UT.

He pointed out that the Department is aiming at establishing a Milk processing unit in every district of J&K. He even revealed that the total business on e-NAM jumped to over Rs 300 Cr from a mere Rs 30 Cr in the past. He made out that the progress in the implementation of HADP would fairly improve from next year as the process of grounding and capacity building has largely been accomplished in the first year of its implementation in J&K.

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