Lt Governor inaugurates two-day multi-stakeholder convention on holistic development of agriculture

 Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha today inaugurated a two-day multi-stakeholder convention on holistic development of agriculture and allied sectors in J&K UT, at SKICC, Srinagar.

The historic conference seeks to build innovative structures for holistic development of agriculture & allied sectors in J&K with the help of renowned Scientists and Policy planners of the country.

On the occasion, the Lt Governor announced that a high-powered committee of agricultural scientists will be formed under the chairmanship of renowned scientist, Dr. Mangala Rai to prepare a futuristic roadmap for accelerated development of agriculture & allied sectors and making the farming viable, steady and sustainable.

Noting the immense scope of possibilities in harnessing the real potential of agriculture & allied sectors and to make it a strong base of the UT’s economy, the Lt Governor said that the government is focusing on higher investment in agro-based industries. High value crops, greater value addition will provide a boost to this industry. Our prime objective is to double the agriculture & allied sectors’ contribution to GSDP, he added.

Highlighting the challenge of increasing the income of farmers through growth in Dairy, Fisheries and livestock, the Lt Governor called for a sustained effort for investment in dairy sector to enhance processing of milk from 1.5 lakh litres to 5 lakh litres in the next three years.

85% farmers have smaller landholdings. Economically viable innovative solutions to enhance productivity of small & marginal farmers are need of the hour. We need to bridge the gap between goals achieved & achievable, we need to strengthen the extension services and quality inputs, the Lt Governor added.

‘We need to increase export while maintaining food security. We need to streamline the farm practices to ensure better incentives to the farmers. We need to streamline value addition technology for food processing, packaging, market outreach and minimize post-harvest wastages’, the Lt Governor further said.

He said that the acceleration of agricultural reforms by Hon'ble PM Shri Narendra Modi seems to be bearing fruit; the average farm income has risen, and now J&K figures among top 5 states/UTs. However, filling the policy vacuum of last many decades in Agriculture sector requires concerted efforts of all stakeholders, he observed.

The UT administration has initiated area-specific strategies to enhance productivity, post-harvest technology, credit support, market access and to bring about sustainable revolution in Agriculture & allied sectors. Each step is being taken in order to ensure farmers’ prosperity that benefits all, said the Lt Governor.

Underlining that a strong Agriculture and Industries sector is imperative to make Jammu and Kashmir financially self-reliant, prosperous, the Lt Governor said, the UT government is making every effort to formulate the right policies and create a cohesive plan so that we achieve greater heights of prosperity for our farmers and the nation.

This two-day workshop has the potential to change the future of Jammu and Kashmir. Experts, experienced farmers from all over the country have come together to formulate a policy document and it is our responsibility to get it implemented on the ground, the Lt Governor asserted.

The Lt Governor also spoke about the Agriculture Infrastructure fund launched by Hon'ble Prime Minister and said that it will be instrumental in solving critical gaps in Agriculture & allied sectors. While utilizing the money provided by the Union Government, emphasis should be laid on processing, value addition & handholding of the entrepreneurs, he added.

The Lt Governor further observed that the government is steadily strengthening the institution of Cooperative societies in the UT. These societies will be instrumental in bridging investment, credit and infrastructure deficit and help in effective action plan for the future, he added.

Experts and policy planners’ vision, technological ability, focused inter-sectoral approaches and administrative efficiency is key to taking our agriculture & allied sectors to new heights and changing the lives of millions of farmers, the Lt Governor noted.

He also appreciated the role of Agriculture Universities in providing mentoring and handholding to the farmers of J&K.

Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary, while speaking on the occasion enlisted the reforms introduced in the Agriculture & allied sectors and efforts being made by the administration to ensure that the benefits of the schemes envisaged by the government for the welfare of the farmers reach the rightful beneficiaries.

He also underlined the need to prepare a climate resilience plan at grass root level.

Sh Atal Dulloo, Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture Production Department, gave a briefing on the two-day convention being organized by Agriculture Production Department, J&K, SKUAST-J and SKUAST-K. He underscored the need of conducting an in-depth analysis on the achievements and challenges in the agriculture and allied sectors, besides focusing on the areas of unexplored opportunities in J&K.

Dr Mangala Rai, former DG ICAR shared his experiences on tapping the potential and creating opportunities in the agriculture and allied sectors for the planned inclusive growth to make the sector more profitable, market driven and employable.

He also shared his knowledge on hill agriculture, cold water fishery production, protected cultivation, effective utilization of natural resources etc.

Prof. J P Sharma, Vice-Chancellor SKUAST, Jammu threw light on the prospects and potential of agriculture and allied sectors and highlighted the importance of diversification, value addition, replicating good practices to yield favourable results for all the stakeholders associated with the said sector.

Other distinguished speakers including Sh Ashok Dalwai, CEO NRAA, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, GoI and Sh HS Gupta, former Director, IARI & DG, BISA also shared their valuable thoughts on tapping the growth potential of the agriculture sector in the UT.

Padma Shri awardee farmers- Sh Bharat Bhushan Tyagi from Uttar Pradesh and Haryana’s Sh Sultan Singh, besides other awardee farmers from J&K including Sh Hind Bhushan from Doda and Sh Izhan Javed from Kashmir shared their success stories.

Prof Nazir Ahmad Ganai, Vice-Chancellor, SKUAST Kashmir delivered the vote of thanks.

On the occasion, the Lt Governor along with other dignitaries released publications of Agriculture Production Department- Guidance Document of Interest Subvention Schemes of Agriculture & allied sectors and Compendium of Sample DPRs.

Earlier, the Lt Governor inspected the stalls put up by government departments and various stakeholders to mark the occasion.

Agriculture scientists, Experts, farmers from J&K and outside, besides HoDs, members of FPOs, agri-preneurs, senior officials were present on the occasion.