KATHUA – The structural changes and consolidation of different programmes for farm and non-farm population in the rural areas is nothing short of a revolution for rural J&K. The UT has also redefined the agriculture and horticulture business in the country with expanded operations and strong supply chain system, which had never happened in the last 70 years.
Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha made these remarks while attending the first-ever “Vishal Pashudhan Vyapar Mela” at Sports Stadium, Hiranagar in Kathua district.
Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor welcomed the farmers from other states to the mega Livestock Trade Fair.
The first of its kind event in the UT will provide a major fillip to the Animal Husbandry sector with an additional source of income to the farmers. It is an effort on the part of the government towards providing a single platform for sale/purchase of high-quality livestock breeds that will strengthen J&K’s Dairy sector, besides exploiting the full potential of J&K in milk, fodder & mutton production, to cut down imports and bridge the demand and supply gap in the poultry sector, and generating employment by attracting new entrepreneurs, observed the Lt Governor.
The Mela will facilitate doubling the income of farmers through the adoption of best practices, genetic up-gradation of milch animals, latest technical interventions and proper management of high-quality breeds of milch animals. Further, the hardships faced by farmers in the cumbersome purchase process of high-quality breeds from the adjoining states and their transportation to the destination district of UT of J&K will be eliminated as high-quality breeds of cows, buffaloes, sheep, goats, etc. from neighboring states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh etc. shall be displayed for sale & purchase, said the Lt Governor.
In addition, the related machinery of latest technology pertaining to Animal & Sheep Husbandry sectors including fodder management shall also be displayed and made available for the farmers and dairy entrepreneurs. The insurance of animals after sale/ purchase will also be facilitated by the department of Animal & Sheep Husbandry, he added.
Terming Agriculture sector as the backbone of J&K’s economy, the Lt Governor stated that the government is making resolute efforts to develop this huge growth potential sector to double the income of the farmers and the other stakeholders involved in the Agriculture and allied sectors.
70% of our population is dependent on agriculture with around 76 lakh people being dependent on agriculture. This year, the budget of Rs 2008 crore has been earmarked for the Agriculture sector which is way more than the budget per capita as compared to many other states and UTs, he added.
The Government has made reformative interventions to bring a revolution in the agriculture sector, the record production registered in agriculture, and horticulture is the result of this change. The efforts of the last one year have put J&K on the map of big agriculture and horticulture powers, said the Lt Governor.
Quoting some instances of the exemplary work being done in the agriculture and horticulture production, the Lt Governor observed that a few years ago, a farmer produced roughly two kilograms of saffron from a hectare of the field; however, today 5 kg of saffron is being produced in one hectare.
Taking the lab technology to the fields, our agricultural scientists, researchers are touching new heights with their hard work. Around 500 farmers of Doda district have now adopted new techniques, and left the traditional cultivation of maize to cultivate lavender, triggering a new revolution under Aroma Mission, added the Lt Governor.
Underscoring the innovative measures undertaken by the Government, the Lt Governor noted that the High Density Plantation has been started in mission mode and material for High Density Plantation is being made available to the farmers at subsidized rates.
Appreciating the efforts of the Agriculture Department, the Lt Governor said that the Government machinery is extending all-out support to the farmers to facilitate their socio-economic growth.
Citing a research paper on the changing agriculture and horticulture system of Jammu and Kashmir, published in the USA’s science journal ‘Heliyon’, the Lt Governor noted that the paper acknowledged the historic development taking place in Agriculture sector in the UT. The Lt Governor credited the determined efforts of officials of the administration and the farming community for this unprecedented development.
In 2015, the Hon’ble Prime Minister had entrusted upon the Agriculture Departments across the country to work in a mission mode to increase the income of farmers and called for putting the focus on many other options like Animal Husbandry, Beekeeping to generate income throughout the year, which is a great option for small and medium farmers and also encourages integrated farming, said the Lt Governor.
In order to realize the vision of our Hon’ble Prime Minister, the Government has kept a budget of Rs. 338 crore for Animal, Sheep, Fisheries Department this year to connect the farmers with commercial animal husbandry to exploit the full potential of the sector and ensure the socio-economic development of all stakeholders, the Lt Governor maintained.
In an effort to cut down imports and bridge the demand and supply gap in dairy and poultry sectors, double the income of farmers, and generate employment, the Government has launched Integrated Dairy Development Scheme. Under this scheme, financial support is provided in the shape of 50% subsidy for the Establishment of dairy units, milk collection/chilling processing units, the establishment of market infrastructure and milk/milk-product transportation system, environment management of dairy farms. This year, the Government plans to establish 800 new dairy units, by induction of more than 4000 animals, and other milk processing units. This will enhance the milk production significantly, the Lt Governor said.
Further, under the Integrated Poultry Development Program 2021-22, significant financial support shall be provided for the establishment of new commercial broiler farms. 50% subsidy on Insurance of Poultry Broiler birds, Establishment of Poultry dressing, and processing unit, Establishment of Poultry rendering unit, Establishment of Poultry caged transport vehicles for transportation of poultry and establishment of mini hatcheries/incubators. This year, the department targets to encourage new entrepreneurs to establish more than 500 new commercial broiler farms and other units to enhance poultry production, he added.
Animal health is very important in this entire campaign and we want to extend the best facilities to the farmers by reaching out to their doorsteps through Mobile Veterinary Clinics. The government also plans to establish 26 mobile veterinary clinics this year for providing veterinary care services in remote and inaccessible areas, said the Lt Governor.
The Lt Governor made some valuable suggestions in respect of animal husbandry. He advised the officials to get the census of animals done for better planning and execution of development schemes.
Apart from farming, the biggest support for the farmers is their livestock. I sincerely hope that the farmers will benefit a lot from this Pashudhan Vyapar Mela. I am sure that by fulfilling the aspirations of the farmers, we will move forward in the direction of development, said the Lt Governor.
He also reiterated that the government is committed to improving power infrastructure in the UT. ‘Power transmission and distribution system is being improved substantially. Despite our efforts, some areas in Jammu division remained affected during the last couple of months due to outages. We have identified the gaps. In order to provide uninterrupted and reliable power supply to all, we are introducing strict and innovative measures to meet various challenges in fulfilling energy needs of the people in future, he maintained.
The Lt Governor also expressed his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families which suffered loss in the Kishtwar cloudburst and assured every possible support of the J&K Government to the families affected by the natural calamity.
We cannot bring back the lives lost in the unfortunate incident. However, we will ensure the best possible assistance to the affected families. Our heartfelt sympathies are with the bereaved families, he said.
Navin Kumar Choudhary, Principal Secretary to the Government, Animal and Sheep Husbandry Department highlighted the major schemes in Animal and Sheep Husbandry aimed at making Jammu and Kashmir, self-sufficient in milk production, besides providing livelihood opportunities to the farmers to increase the farmers’ income.
Earlier, the Lt Governor inspected various stalls displayed by the Agriculture and allied departments and farmers. The Lt Governor also handed over the subsidy cheques to the beneficiaries under various schemes on the occasion.
Those present on the occasion included Sh. Mahan Singh, DDC Chairperson Kathua; Rahul Yadav, Deputy Commissioner Kathua; Ms. Vivek Sharma, Director Animal Husbandry Jammu; Krishan Lal Sharma, Director Sheep Husbandry Jammu, Heads of the Departments, DDC members, BDC Chairpersons, prominent citizens, besides a large number of farmers from the UT and neighbouring states participated in the event.