JAMMU: As part of the ongoing public outreach initiatives of the Centre Government, Union Minister for Agriculture, Narendra Singh Tomar and Union Ministers of State for Agriculture, Shobha Karandlaje and Kailash Choudhary on Friday visited Jammu and took stock of agriculture and horticulture-related activities in the region.
Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Farooq Khan and Principal Secretary, Agriculture & Horticulture, Navin K Choudhary also accompanied the team.
During an event organised at village Maralian, in RS Pura sub-division, the Union Agriculture Minister expressed delight and said, “farmers of J&K are showing extraordinary enthusiasm for availing benefits of the government’s schemes”.
‘Around 85 percent of farmers of India have land holding of less than 2 hectares, the minister said, and it is by strengthening these farmers that the nation can truly prosper’. He stressed that in order to double the farmer’s income, they need to shift from traditional methods and opt for modernisation and diversification of crops. He also laid impetus on maintaining quality to match global standards.
The Minister informed that the Prime Minister is working towards giving boost to agriculture and allied sectors, so as to ensure greater exports of exceptional quality. He lauded the Government for implementing “200 out of 201” recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee and highlighted that ‘the most significant recommendation to be accepted has been to ensure that farmers get at least 50 percent profit over their investment’. Some crops are even earning them profit of about 100 percent, he added.
Detailing the PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, the Minister informed that the Centre Government has already disbursed Rs 1,58,000 crore to more than 11 crore farmers through the scheme. More than 17 hundred farmers of J&K have also received an amount of Rs 6 thousand per year under the scheme, told the minister.
Acknowledging the efforts of the Lieutenant Governor, the Principal Secretary said that through his intervention, marginal farmers and orchardists with land holding of 1 kanal are now being provided government support. Earlier the minimum requirement was capped at 4 kanal.
Navin K Choudhary informed the Minister that with high density plantation technique, around one thousand plants can be planted in one hectare land. The number is significant as earlier only four hundred plants were being planted in the same land. ‘Thus, with high density plantation, orchardists could easily double their income’, he said.
The Principal Secretary informed that the UT administration has been successful in increasing horticulture cover in Jammu division from 50 thousand to 10 lakh plants this year. Greater targets have been set for subsequent years, he assured. ‘ The department is proactively promoting plantation of less water-intensive crops like lemongrass and aloevera in kandi areas of the region. Land amounting to 1500 hectares has come under the two kinds of plantations so far’, added the Principal Secretary.
An exhibition of agriculture implements and horticulture products of districts like Poonch, Rajouri, Doda, Kathua and others was also organized at the venue.
The visiting ministers also inaugurated one high-density plantation at Maralian by planting mango saplings at the site.
Those present at the event included DDC Chairman, Bharat Bhushan, Director Horticulture Ram Sewak and other senior officers of the department.
Meanwhile, Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare also visited Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Jammu and lays foundation stone of Gene Bank and Cold Storage facility at Mega Seed.
The Ministers also visited Integrated farming system, newly developed laboratory of School of Biotechnology besides flagging off Beej Vahan to mark the launch of Rabi campaign at Mega Seed unit of SKUAST-Jammu. The minister inspected exhibition stalls laid by farmers’, agri-startups and KVKs of University.
The Union Minister in his address on the occasion said that he is feeling happy by visiting SKUAST-Jammu and has seen a transformation in agriculture sector of J&K Union territory. He appreciated the efforts and activities of Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-Jammu and SKUAST-Kashmir for bringing development and sea change research and extension in both the Universities benefiting the farmers of Jammu and Kashmir. He said that out of 201 recommendations of M. S. Swaminathan Committee constituted in 2003, two hundred recommendations were implemented by present government.
The Union Minister informed the gathering that Rs 158000 cr rupees have been transferred in the bank accounts of 11 Lakh farmers of India under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana whereas Rs 1723 crores have been transferred to the farmers of UT of J&K. The government is following the procedure for fixation of Minimum Support Price of Agricultural Produce as recommended by Swaminathan committee which is fifty percent more of the cost of cultivation. However, the MSP announced recently for Rabi crops is almost 100 percent more than the cost of cultivation. The present Budget of Agriculture has also increased to Rs 123000 cr which was Rs 23000 cr in 2014.
Union Minister appreciated the efforts of Central Government for formation of 10000 FPOs to strengthen the 85% of Marginal and small farmers of India. He said Kisan Credit Card scheme was launched by the Vajpayee Govt has saved the farmers from the clutches of Money lenders. Union Minister also informed that the document related to role of agricultural education in National Education Policy 2020 will be released shortly by the ICAR.
Meanwhile, prestigious multi crore ICAR/ World Bank sponsored Institutional Development Plan (IDP) project was also launched during the function at Baba Jitto Auditorium of SKUAST-Jammu.
Navin K Choudhary, Principal Secretary, Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Govt. of Jammu and Kashmir Union territory also spoke on the occasion and raised the issues and demands pertaining to infrastructure development, establishment of Agricultural Technology Information centre, centre for organic agriculture, development of farms of university and sanctioning of more AICRPs.
Earlier, the Union Minister and team inspected exhibitions and stalls demonstrated by the KVKs of university, farmers, start-ups, etc. During the programme, progressive farmers of UT of J&K were felicitated for their contribution in agriculture and allied enterprises. Kulbhushan Khajuria and Tejinder Singh, progressive farmers also spoke on the occasion.