Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha addressed the farewell session of the Multi-Party Convention on Holistic Development of Agriculture and Allied Sectors at J&K, SKICC Srinagar on Tuesday.
Appreciating the organizers of the historic convention, the Lieutenant Governor said such efforts will deepen our understanding of critical gaps and the steps needed to transform and rejuvenate the mainstay of our economy.
Deliberations among leading agricultural scientists, policy planners, policy makers, academics and farmers will lead to the formulation of a futuristic roadmap for rapid growth in agriculture and related sectors, added Lt. governor.
The lieutenant governor noted that UT’s agriculture and related business sector has been performing well below potential in recent years. The J&K administration has taken several steps to reverse the downward trend by bridging credit gaps, diversification, high-density plantations, building storage capacity, market linkages and extension services, a he added.
Growth in agriculture last year was recorded at 3.9% and food processing at 11.18%. However, we have a large number of small farmers and marginal farmers who need financial support and benefits from the central and UT schemes, and a hand in hand to meet the challenges, observed the lieutenant governor .
Noting that related activities contribute more than 15% of total farm income, the Lieutenant Governor said dairy, livestock, poultry and fishing can become engines of strong growth, and stressed the need to make massive efforts to raise awareness among farmers to exploit its tremendous potential and benefit from several facilities of the center and UT.
Over the past two years, we have developed a viable strategy to accomplish the historic task of securing higher incomes for our farmers. We have overcome several obstacles to sustain a higher rate of growth in agriculture and related sectors and made it more equitable and inclusive, the Lieutenant Governor said.
Under the leadership of Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, we are working tirelessly for the welfare of farmers, especially extending the hand to small and marginal farmers. A large population that has been denied progress and prosperity for decades now enjoys equal opportunity and equal rights, the Lieutenant Governor added.
The Lieutenant Governor urged the high-level committee of agricultural scientists being set up under the chairmanship of renowned scientist Dr. Mangala Rai to prepare a forward-looking plan that can be implemented within the next three years.
The Lieutenant Governor highlighted steps taken to harness untapped opportunities in horticulture and ensure an end-to-end approach from planting to post-harvest management and processing to marketing to increase quality production and exports.
The transformation of agriculture and the related sector is not only a question of productivity, but also of food security, the empowerment of farmers and the prosperity of small farming families. The government is committed to translating the benefits of growth into financial security for farmers, the lieutenant governor said.
The UT government offers as many benefits to the agricultural sector as those of the manufacturing sector, such as easy access to credit, infrastructure, pre- and post-harvest facilities, covering risks and uncertainties and various interventions and programs at the benefit of farmers. , he added.
He also requested NAFED to speed up the high density plantations in order to achieve the set target of 5,500 hectares of high density cultivation within the given time frame.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary, called for realistic plans and determined efforts to double J&K’s economy in the next five years.
He further insisted on efficient use of assets and exploring vast possibilities and opportunities in the sector to add Rs 50,000 cr in agriculture and related sectors in the coming years.
Dr Mangala Rai, former DG ICAR, stressed the need to have a clear vision, adopting a bottom-up approach, focusing on resource planning, policy interventions, formulating plans at district level and inviting suggestions from experts, farmers and other stakeholders as a way forward to achieve tangible results on the ground.
He further advised taking sustainable productivity and profitability improvement measures that focus on efficiency.
Sh Atal Dulloo, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Agricultural Production, in his address, informed about the inputs received from experts, scientists and progressive farmers at the convention regarding proposed interventions, policy planning, formulation of plans, in addition to forming working groups to prepare a roadmap to facilitate the growth trajectory of agriculture and related sectors at J&K.
Prof. Nazir Ahmad Ganai, Vice Chancellor, SKUAST Kashmir, gave a detailed presentation on Rethinking Agriculture in J&K, policy recommendations covering various important aspects of agriculture and related sectors.
Prof. JP Sharma, Vice Chancellor SKUAST, Jammu, highlighted the learning outcomes obtained from the deliberations held during the two-day convention on holistic development of agriculture and related sectors at J&K.
Dr. US Awasthi, Managing Director, IFFCO, also shared his experience in the sector.
On this occasion, the Lt Governor inaugurated a weekly documentary program on successes in agriculture and related sectors “Nothing succeeds like success”.
Ch. Abdul Hamid Wani, Secretary of J&K Kisans Development Advisory Board, highlighted the aim of the weekly documentary program – an initiative of DD Kashir in collaboration with J&K Kisans Development Advisory Board.
Prominent agricultural scientists, experts, policy makers, scholars, progressive farmers, in addition to department heads, J&K Kisans Development Advisory Board members, senior government officials and prominent citizens from all walks of life attended the farewell session