SRINAGAR: Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha on Friday paid a visit to Samba district and inaugurated Krishi Vigyan Kendra building complex. He felicitated the progressive farmers who were trained by the SKUAST and are earning a sustainable livelihood, besides involving other farmers in agricultural activities.
The Lt Governor also released publications and Newsletter on the agriculture sector and allied activities.
Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor, who is also the Chancellor of SKUAST-Jammu, observed that agriculture and allied sectors are key focus areas of J&K Government and laid special emphasis on providing sustained handholding to the farmers, besides giving a determined push to these sectors.
The UT Government is taking comprehensive measures for the development and growth of priority sectors like Agriculture, Horticulture, Dairy and Poultry and is making interventions by identifying scientific and technological needs of the farming community to achieve desirable results, he added.
The Lt Governor urged the scientists to take the farm technology from the lab to the fields for extending maximum benefits to the farming community.
“J&K Government is creating an institutional mechanism by leveraging available technology for the efficient delivery of various rural services, in a transparent manner and with public participation and ownership. Through Krishi Vigyan Kendra, we can successfully bridge the gap of connectivity between farmers and scientific methods & technology”, said the Lt Governor.
The Lt Governor directed Divisional Commissioner Jammu to identify land for establishing KVKs in the remaining three districts of Jammu Division.
He said that the progressive farmers who were felicitated today have set an example for others, especially for the young generation to make farming & allied activities as the preferred choice for a successful career.
Highlighting various initiatives taken by the J&K Government, the Lt Governor said that the UT administration has signed an MoU with NAFED to bring reforms in the horticulture sector, for high-density plantations, cold storage cluster, market linkage and GI tagging of local products. High-Density plantation of Apple, Walnut, Cherry, Flowers etc would increase the income of farmers by 3 to 4 times, observed the Lt Governor.
NAFED will cover 5500 hectares of land at a cost of Rs.1700 Crore in the next five years with a major focus on Apple, Walnut, Cherry, Pear and other significant horticulture produce, and will set up 20 Farmer-Producer Organizations, one in each district, besides three cold storage clusters, costing Rs.500 Crore, and ensuring Geographical Indications tags (GI Tags) for all premium/niche horticulture produce, he added.
“We are working on various levels to ensure that our farmers get three to four-time returns of their hard work and investment. All possible help from the administration is being assured for the benefits of farmers. With latest interventions by the government, the farm produce would be able to reach worldwide markets and for the empowerment of the farmers”, the Lt Governor maintained.
Prime Minister has taken many decisions for the betterment of farmers. Many farmers’ welfare schemes like Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, Soil Health management, Neem Coated Urea, National Food Security Mission, Rashtriya Gokul Mission, One Nation One Market and many other such schemes have been devised and their benefits are being delivered to the community directly. Efforts are being made for 100% saturation of every scheme so that the maximum beneficiaries can reap the benefits out of these schemes, the Lt Governor observed.
“I have always stressed on the need to increase agricultural production and its diversification. Some farmers in J&K are working to achieve desired goals and are proud beneficiaries of such an approach. Better techniques and extension support are imperative to achieve these goals for which the administration and KVK are doing well”, the Lt Governor said.
The Lt Governor asked the VC SKUAST- Jammu to make continuous improvements in University’s functioning and work as a knowledge and resource centre of agricultural technology for supporting initiatives of the public, private and voluntary sector. He also advised the VC for release of agriculture-related books in local language for better understanding to the farmers.
He said that establishment of KVK Samba is a great initiative for the farmers of the area and Scientists should work as per the mandate with new innovations in agriculture, which must benefit the end-users, that is, the farmers.
Mentioning the reforms in land laws, the Lt Governor informed the farmers that now permission is not required for the establishment of apple orchards which otherwise was compulsory before.
The Lt Governor also spoke on the apprehensions created around the Agricultural Reforms. He said that the Agricultural Reforms by the Union Government are for the betterment of the farmers and the latter would be free to cultivate their land and sell their products according to their wish, he added.
The Lt Governor assured that the farmers are equally allowed to sell their produce at their own price as they are to sell at the Minimum Support Price (MSP). The trade at agriculture markets throughout the country has increased after implementation of the latest reforms, and there has been no shutdown, he added.
Speaking on ‘contract farming’, the Lt Governor said that fear has been created by some vested interest in contract farming. He further assured that the contract is limited to the exchange of goods and not the land. There is no mention of land in these reforms, he maintained.
The Lt Governor appreciated the KVK Samba for researching on the local agro-climatic conditions and identifying possible crop variety for successful diversified farming in the region, besides creating 35 entrepreneurs who are working and earning in diversified farming, mushroom cultivation, organic vegetables, beekeeping, bamboo crafts, poultry farming and other fields.
Farooq Khan, Advisor to the Lt Governor, during his address, urged the farmers to take advantage of KVK for linkage with progressive farmers of the country for adoption of best agricultural practices. He asked SKUAST and line departments to converge at a single platform for the benefit of farmers.
While speaking on the occasion, Navin Kumar Choudhary, Principal Secretary to the Government, Agriculture Production Department stressed upon SKUAST-Jammu to frame Annual Calendar of KVK activities so that farmers may know in advance about the various training programmes being organized for them. He also urged the farmers to take full advantage of various schemes under AatmaNirbhar Bharat and schemes initiated by the UT Government.
Earlier, Prof. J.P. Sharma, Vice-Chancellor, SKUAST-Jammu, in his welcome address, gave a detailed briefing about the various activities being undertaken by the University for the welfare of farmers. Vote of thanks was presented by Dr S. K. Gupta, Director Extension, SKUAST Jammu. Dr Vinod Gupta, Senior Scientist and Head, KVK, Samba conducted the proceedings of the program. Dr Rajbir Singh, Director ATARI-ICAR Zone-I was the special guest during the occasion.
A cultural programme focusing on different activities promoted by KVK, Samba was also presented on the occasion.
Earlier, the Lt Governor inspected the Laboratory of KVK and was briefed in detail about various innovations, initiatives and models in farming, agriculture and allied sectors. He further inspected units of advanced farming techniques, hybrid seeds, organic products, live samples and different schemes.
While inspecting stalls of different line departments related to farming, agriculture and allied sectors, the Lt Governor enquired about the targets to be achieved by line departments, stressed upon the benefits, uses and affordable availability to farmers. The Lt Governor also planted a sapling to mark the occasion.
Prominent among others present on the occasion were Prof. Ravindra Kumar Sinha, Prof. M. K. Dhar and Prof. Ashok Aima, Vice-Chancellors- SMVDU, University of Jammu and Central University of Jammu; Sanjeev Verma, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu; Rohit Khajuria, Deputy Commissioner, Samba; SSP Samba; HoDs of various departments; officers of the University, and a large number of farmers.
Former Ministers- Chander Prakash Ganga and Dr DK Manyal and representatives of PRIs were also present.