Agriculture sector to get more share in J&K budget; says L-G Manoj Sinha

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Mandis not only to stay in UT, but also being strengthened and modernised: LG

Jammu: Lt Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha on Monday  said that agriculture sector in the Union Territory will get more share of the budget component in future as a unique sustainable agriculture plan has been development in J&K, which currently caters to all developmental needs without compromising future potential.

Speaking on the occasion of Horti-Expo 2021 at Police Auditorium in Gulshan Ground here, he said

the promotion of local produce and taking it to the global market is one of the key focus areas of the J&K Government and it is making continuous efforts to increase the resources and market linkages to further strengthen the horticulture sector. The UT Government would continue striving hard to provide the best and advanced technologies to farmers as welfare of the farmer community and increasing their income manifold is its priority, he added.

“I assure farmers that Mandis are very much here to stay,’’ Lt Governor said, adding “in fact, they are getting strengthened and modernized. People should not spread false information and mislead the farmers”, he added.

The Lt Governor said that the government is also setting up Farmers Producers Organizations in all the 20 districts of Jammu and Kashmir in the next three months to strengthen business activities related to agriculture and horticulture.

For the convenience of the farmers, free thresher is being provided in every panchayat of the UT. Road Tax on Tractors up to 3000 CC capacity has also been exempted and no tax will be paid on power tillers, he added.

In the last few years, J&K is getting distinct recognition in the world scenario under the able guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and because of hard work of farmers, agricultural scientists and policies adopted by the Horticulture Department. He asked the Agriculture Department to develop new state-of-the-art scientific research programs and take them from lab to farm under mission mode so as to make J&K pioneer and self-reliant in food safety.

Sinha reiterated government’s commitment for exploring all the possibilities for giving a further push to the development of priority sectors like agriculture and horticulture and recalled the recently held NITI Aayog meeting in which he had requested the Prime Minister to provide facility of dry port and international flights to Jammu and Kashmir so that products, including those related to agriculture and horticulture could be exported directly.

He has also requested the NITI Aayog that instead of spreading the resources, the Central government could consider specific product-based funding programs as our National Saffron Mission was successful because of its focus on one product, Lt Governor said. He observed that experiments like Saffron Mission can also be used for other crops such as apples, walnuts, almonds, etc., which can cover the entire value chain of inputs, farms, processing, packing, and storage. This will also reduce dependence on rice and wheat and the funding coming from the government will go directly to value addition and processing units, he added.

The Lt Governor also recounted the innovative measures taken by the government to boost the horticulture produce in the UT.

He said that the Government of Jammu and Kashmir has signed an MoU with NAFED, through which high-density Apple, Walnut, Mango, Strawberry, and Litchi will be cultivated in 5500 hectares in the next five years. NAFED will also create three cold storage clusters in Kathua, North and South Kashmir with an amount of Rs 500 crores.

The Lt Governor also stressed on the need to pay more attention towards allied activities such as Beekeeping and Dairy development and assured government support for the development of these sectors.

Under “Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture or MIDH” of the government, many instruments and facilities are being provided to the farmers. A lot of facilities are being made available by the government to facilitate farmers and ensuring good health of crops. Subsidized rates are being made available to the farmers on the material for the high-density plantation, due to which the production has also increased almost four times, he added.

The Lt Governor observed that the Ministry of Agriculture of the Central Government has signed MoU with more than 60 countries, which includes cooperation in research and development in agriculture, horticulture, and other allied sectors as well as providing a global market and full cooperation is also being provided by the government for all activities.