500 enterprising farmers to be guided to harness potential of organic produce
LG says J&K among top UTs, states in terms of farm income
HT NEWS NETWORK
Jammu, Mar 7: Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Monday said his administration is giving a renewed thrust to organic farming to bring a paradigm shift in agrarian policy, rural prosperity and improving the income and quality of life of farmers.
He said 500 enterprising farmers will be provided with handholding and knowledge-based intervention every year to harness the potential of organic produce in the Union territory.
“We have set a target to convert 5,500 hectares of land into high-density plantations in the next four years. Last year, we succeeded in planting apples in 320 hectares and sub-tropical fruits in 2,400 hectares,” Sinha said after inaugurating a five-day ‘Kisan Mela’ at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) Jammu.
He also laid the foundation stone for the newly-sanctioned faculties of horticulture and forestry, agricultural engineering and dairy technology.
“We are making efforts to increase productivity through the infusion of traditional knowledge, modern science and technology, providing improved marketing facilities and resolving several other issues like power, irrigation, cheaper credit and rural infrastructure,” Sinha said.
He also highlighted the farmer-centric reforms introduced by the government in the last two years to empower farmers of J&K, increasing their income manifold and making them ‘Aatmanirbhar’ (self-dependent).
“Jammu and Kashmir are now among the top five states/UTs in terms of farm income with a monthly income of Rs 18,918 per farmer,” he said.
The Lt Governor said greater diversification into high-value crops, value addition through agro-processing and market linkages are taking the agriculture and horticulture sector to new heights and ensuring an inclusive growth process.
“The improved air connectivity has given a new boost to the horticulture sector,” he said.
Sinha said the government is constantly striving to provide farmers with direct access to modern technologies, encouraging natural farming to improve profitability and sustainability in agriculture and allied sectors.
“Aggressive marketing and branding of local agri-products, mechanisation in agriculture and horticulture sector, high-density plantation, diversification, better quality seeds, capacity buildings, geographical indication (GI) tagging, expansion of banking facilities and micro-irrigation have achieved rich dividends for farmers and brought a structural change in agriculture and horticulture sector,” he said.
He said the ‘vocal for local’ has opened up a plethora of opportunities for everyone associated with agriculture and allied sectors to grow and prosper.
“We are also bringing national and international players on board for enhancing the knowledge expertise and providing global market linkages to J&K’s farming community,” he said.
Bridging the rural gap is among the top priorities of the administration, the L-G said, adding that a strong framework is being developed to increase employment and connect rural youth with the agriculture and horticulture industry.
“The administration will also extend all possible support to the youth involved in agricultural start-ups,” he added.