SRINAGAR – Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha today e-inaugurated the “Jashn-e-Zafraan”, Harvesting Saffron, in presence of Sh Kailash Choudhary, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor observed that it is due to farmer-centric policies of the Government that the income of the Saffron farmers in Jammu and Kashmir in 2021 has doubled, a year before the deadline.
He pointed to the recent data of the National Statistical Survey which shows that after Meghalaya, Punjab, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh, the farmers of Jammu and Kashmir have the highest monthly income of Rs 18,918, way above the national average of Rs 10,218.
The Lt Governor expressed his heartfelt gratitude to Hon’ble Prime Minister for systematically improving the entire chain from farm to retail marketing, bringing a huge change in the lives of farmers from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.
The Lt Governor noted that in 2016, Hon’ble Prime Minister had started a revolutionary change in agriculture and horticulture. It is the result of various interventions of the PM that today the income of J&K farmers is at the fifth position in the whole country and 46% higher than the national average.
“98% of those agricultural households who had sought technical advice from various institutions of our Agriculture Department have further strengthened the process of reforms in the farming sector by adopting those techniques”, he added.
Referring to the Prime Minister’s interaction with progressive saffron farmer Sh Abdul Majeed Wani, the Lt Governor said that the farmer-welfare initiatives and introduction of affordable new technologies with incentives has made their farming way better.
The Lt Governor said that the increase in saffron production from 2.5 Kg per hectare to 5 kg per hectare will motivate farmers of other agriculture and allied sectors to increase their production taking maximum benefit of various agriculture development schemes of the Central and UT government.
The Lt Governor said that after the tireless efforts of the central government last year, Saffron got the Geographical Indication Tag and paved the way for it to become a powerful brand in the international market.
He observed that when J&K’s Saffron was launched in Dubai last year after getting the GI tag, it received very encouraging results. Now not only will exports increase, but the Pampore Trading Center built under the vision of the Hon’ble Prime Minister will make it easier for the Saffron farmers to sell it in other parts of the country as well, he said.
“NAFED, which is working with the UT Government on high density plantations, will sell Saffron from Jammu and Kashmir across the country. Farmers of Pulwama, Budgam and Kishtwar will get huge relief by this and now instead of doubling the farmers’ income, we aim to increase it three times”, he added.
On the occasion the Lt Governor said that the cultivation of Saffron cannot be imagined without J&K’s Nari Shakti. Our mothers and sisters have always played a significant role in the growth of Saffron production in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Lt Governor stressed on organizing regular buyer-seller meets by the Agriculture Production & Farmers Welfare Department so that maximum profits of farmers’ hard work can be ensured by creating marketing linkages across the country.
The Lt Governor also expressed gratitude towards Sh Narendra Singh Tomar, Hon’ble Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare for his initiative to connect the farmers of J&K UT with high density plantation.
The Lt Governor underscored the significance of Soil health cards in monitoring soil fertility of farmers’ land. He also stressed on the registration of all the farmers under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.
The Lt Governor said that founding fathers of the nation and great policy makers had anticipated the Agriculture sector’s potential for change and progress in society even before independence. It is the result of years of hard work of farmers that today a different form and beneficial structure of agriculture is before us.
“Educated people, doctors, engineers have also started seeing agriculture as an alternative profession. This movement of farming, I believe, has proved to be a boon for our country”, concluded the Lt Governor.
Sh Kailash Choudhary, MoS for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, on the occasion of Jashn-e-Zafraan said that under the vision of Hon’ble PM Saffron of Jammu Kashmir would reach every corner of the world. He stressed on the use of quality seed, cold storage facilities and best marketing linkages facilities provided by the government.
He also spoke on the provision of easy financial assistance to farmers under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund and benefits under various Agriculture sector schemes for the welfare of farmers.
While speaking on the occasion, Sh Farooq Khan, Advisor to Lt Governor said that while production of Saffron has increased significantly and income of farmers has been increased to two to three times, adding that this breakthrough and unprecedented achievement could not have been possible without the support of Government of India.
Sh. Navin Kumar Choudhary, Principal Secretary, Agriculture Production & Farmers Welfare gave a detailed brief of the various activities which were organized during the Jashn-e-Zafraan festival which include display stalls by agriculture department, buyer-seller meets, technical session and awareness on Marketing of farmers’ produce.
Prof JP Sharma, VC SKUAST-Kashmir; Shri Baseer ul Haq, DC Pulwama,; Sh Chowdhary Mohammad Iqbal, Director, Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare; Shri Mohd Yousuf, SSP Pulwama; officers of UT administration; buyers from different parts of the country, exporters and large numbers of farmers were present on the occasion.