Jammu, December 25: UT’s Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Friday said that farmers in Jammu and Kashmir have been provided with financial assistance worth around Rs 1,132 crore under the PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi so far.
Pointing out that 100 per cent coverage has been ensured under the scheme in J&K, Sinha while addressing local farmers at Kissan Kendra here said that the government is extending sustained handholding and support to the farming community facilitating the rapid growth in agriculture and its allied sectors for improving productivity and profitability of farmers. “With an aim to promote farm mechanization and creating self-sufficient villages this financial year, 500 Tractors with Rs 2 lakh subsidy, besides Power Tillers, Paddy Planters and Threshers are being distributed among the farmers across J&K”, Lt Governor added.
The LG was speaking at a function organized in connection with the disbursement of Rs 18,000 crore as next installment by Prime Minister Narendra Modi benefitting nine crore farmer families through direct benefit transfer (DBT) across the country.
Sinha emphasised on better storage provisions for farm produce and stressed on the need for establishing modern storage systems in the UT. Four pesticide laboratories and soil testing labs are also being set up in Jammu and Kashmir, he added.
Pointing out that promotion of agriculture, horticulture, dairy and poultry sectors are government’s priorities, he said “I have identified four issues that are being addressed on priority – Increasing productivity through Intervention of technology, ensuring best price and market support, mitigation of risks and diversification through allied activities,’’ he said, adding “we are working out the prioritization and convergence wherever required to make our efforts more effective in improving the viability, profitability, and sustainability of agriculture and allied sectors’’.
Small and marginal farmers can easily borrow expensive machinery through Custom Hiring Centres which are being set for assisting them, he said, adding that government is providing 50 per cent subsidy for starting a fodder plant, for setting up a dairy with 50 cows, or milk chilling and processing plant.
He termed high density plantation, intercropping and diversification in agriculture as the need of the hour, saying that around 1900 hectare area is going to be brought under high density apple plantation in near future. It would help increase income of apple growers four times, he added.
It is heartening to see that the youth is also showing interest in taking Agriculture as a career. Many of them are growing exotic vegetables which are in great demand in cities. I remember a graduate from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Isha Rasul, who with her breakthrough experiments in organic farming had helped the farmers in establishing a seed bank and is working on High-Intensity Farming. Like Isha Rasool from Kashmir Division, we also have Chaman Lal from Sunderbani, Rajouri, who have earned Rs 8 Lakhs just by growing Exotic Vegetables in mere 1.5 hectare land.
Farmers from both divisions of the UT are being connected to the other markets of India through E-NAM at Narwal Jammu and Parimpora Srinagar. Innovative measures are being taken catering to the irrigation needs of the farmers. Jeevika Initiative, Udhampur has led to a new approach of integrated and remunerative farming, besides the number of bore-wells is being increased to benefit the farmers. In Jammu Division, work is on to install 265 bore-wells and to provide subsidy to the farmers for the Pump Sets, he said.
The agro-climatic conditions of the region are conducive for crops like basmati, saffron, kidney beans, honey, apples, cherry, walnuts, strawberry and flowers. There is a huge market waiting for our farmers in other parts of the country, he continued.
Recently, Kashmir Saffron has been given a GI tag which would help in its promotion and export throughout the world. Lulu Group from Abu Dhabi is going to set up a food processing plant in J&K. The United Arab Emirates is going to import products from Jammu & Kashmir directly. Bhaderwah Rajma, Kishtwar pear, Doda-Poonch walnut, Aamrapali and Mallika mangoes of Jammu, pecan nuts of Poonch and litchi from Reasi would also be given GI tags through the efforts of the Administration, observed the Lt Governor.
Speaking on the Agricultural Reforms, the Lt Governor said that the Agricultural Reforms by the Centre Government are for the betterment of the farmers. Under the reforms, the farmers would be free to cultivate their land and sell their produce according to their wish, he added.
“I would assure 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). Post implementation of the latest reforms, the trade at agriculture markets throughout the country has increased and there has been no shutdown. To dispel the fears pertaining to ‘contract farming’, I would assure that the contract is limited to exchange of goods and not the land. There is no mention of land in these reforms”, said the Lt Governor.