Baramulla: Right Marketing, Packaging, and Branding of Horticulture produce at different forums is being done for getting appropriate dividends for farmers and other stakeholders associated with the sector.
Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha made these remarks during his visit to Baramulla where he inaugurated a Mega Farmers and Growers Mela that was organized by the Agriculture Production & Farmers’ Welfare department as a part of the ongoing Azaadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav celebrations.
The Lt Governor also launched a Massive High Density Plantation drive which is aimed to introduce high yielding horticultural varieties for getting enhanced outputs in horticulture production.
Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor asserted that the High Density Plantation along with value addition of agricultural and horticultural produce is the most viable option for getting better outcomes.
Several novel initiatives are being taken by the present dispensation at the central as well as the regional level for connecting the farming sector with the global market chain, added the Lt Governor.
Focus is being given to aggressive marketing, branding, packaging, distribution, and promotion of the local Horticulture produce in the International Circuit. GI Tagging and organic certification has been done to promote the products of J&K at the global market, said the Lt Governor.
The Lt Governor observed that the High Density Plantation drive will go a long way in enhancing the quality and quantity of Horticulture produce, besides doubling farmer’s income.
Expressing his satisfaction over an overwhelming participation of Farmers in the programme, the Lt Governor said that the Farmers of Jammu & Kashmir are progressive and adaptive to new farming techniques. He emphasized on adopting integrated farming which has the potential to explore more agro-based livelihood opportunities.
“The income of the Farmers will triple even quadrupled with the adoption of all modern, latest and scientific know-hows based on changing circumstances in agricultural fields”, the Lt Governor observed.
The Horticulture sector is the backbone of our economy and about 30 lakh population is associated with it directly or indirectly for their livelihoods, said the Lt Governor, adding that Rs 2008 Cr in the recently passed UT budget was earmarked for the agriculture sector which is the highest ever allocation till date.
Enlisting various farm centric initiatives that were taken by the government, the Lt Governor said that the Government is sensitive towards issues of the farmers. Several laws have been relaxed wherein farmers can now avail benefits from different government sponsored welfare schemes and programmes which were previously not available owing to restrictive enactments, added the Lt Governor.
He also said that testing labs based on international standards shall be established for welfare of the farming community, adding that strict legal action shall be taken against all those stakeholders/dealers involved in the sale of spurious pesticides and fertilizers.
On promotion of High Density Plantation, the Lt Governor observed that the Agriculture Department has signed MoU with National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd. (NAFED) wherein high density horticultural varieties like Apple, Walnut, Mango, Strawberry, and Litchi shall be developed on about 5500 hectares of land.
He further said that the institutional credit mechanism has been strengthened and farmers are being given loans under the KCC scheme so as to insulate them from the clutches of private money lenders.
The Lt Governor also emphasized for promoting organic products, agro-entrepreneurship and stressed that the farmers should brand their products and adopt cooperative based market linking so that the agriculture sector is made remunerative.
Meanwhile, the Lieutenant Governor distributed felicitation awards and farming machinery among the progressive farmers of the district. Pertinently, these farmers have excelled in several agro based sectors using modern farming techniques.
He also released the ‘Krishi Calendar’ at the event which highlighted the achievements recorded by the Agriculture Department.
At the outset of the event, the Lt Governor inspected various stalls that were installed by the Agriculture and allied departments displaying different farming schemes/programmes and other useful farming machinery and equipment. In addition to that, some stalls were also installed by private entrepreneurs associated with the farming sector.
Navin Kumar Choudhary, Principal Secretary, Agriculture Production Department presented the valedictory address wherein he gave a brief description of various schemes and programmes sponsored by the agriculture department. Such events are being organized to acquaint the farmers regarding the latest technologies and giving exposure to them by bringing farmers, agriculture scientists, and other stakeholders on a common platform, he added.
Sanjay Kumar Chadha, Managing Director, NAFED also spoke on the occasion and highlighted the key features of High Density Plantation.
Chowdhary Mohammad Iqbal, Director, Agriculture, Kashmir delivered the welcome address while Sh. Ajaz Ahmad Bhat, Director Horticulture Kashmir presented the Vote of Thanks.
Pandurang K Pole, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir; Vijay Kumar IGP Kashmir; Bhupinder Kumar, Deputy Commissioner Baramulla; DDC members, BDC Chairpersons, PRI Representatives, heads of various departments, and a huge gathering of farmers attended the inaugural ceremony.