Governor N.N. Vohra inaugurated the 25th Meeting of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Regional Committee No. 1, at the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology- Kashmir, here today.
Abdul Ghani Kohli, Minister for Animal & Sheep Husbandry and Fisheries, J&K; . Khalil Bandh, Minister for Agriculture, J&K; Virender Kanwar, Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Govt. of Himachal Pradesh; Dr Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) & DG, ICAR; Prof. Nazeer Ahmed, Vice-Chancellor SKUAST-K; Jaideep Govind, Special Secretary & Financial Advisor, DARE, ICAR; Chhabilendra Roul, Special Secretary, DARE and Secretary ICAR; Dr A.K. Singh, DDG Horticulture & Nodal Officer, Regional Committee No. 1; Dr P.K. Mishra, Member Secretary & Director ICAR-IISWC Dehradun; Dr S.P. Kimothi, ADG ICAR were present on the occasion.
Welcoming the participants to the silver jubilee meeting of the ICAR Regional Committee No. 1, Governor appreciated the work beingpresently done by the Farm Universities and the State Agriculture Department for enhancing the on-farm incomes of small farm households in the State. He observed that new models of agricultural production developed by the scientists, as for example the Integrated Farming System, should be systematically propagated to enable small farmers to multiply their incomes.
Governor stressed the vital responsibility of the KVKs and the State Farm Universities to implement meaningful outreach programmes in very close collaboration with State Agricultural Department and its Extension Agencies. Such endeavours will enable the farmers to become aware of new technologies and techniques for increasing efficiency and productivity of agricultural operations. He observed that the outcome of all research done in the State Farm Universities and Central Research Institutes would be futile if the farmers are not enabled to make full use of new seeds, new plant materials and the latest techniques of farming.
Highlighting the crucial importance of the ICAR Regional Committee No.1’s endeavour to review the research and education programmes in the three states of J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand, Governor observed that ICAR’s technical support is immensely beneficial for carrying on research and extension activities in the States. He suggested opening of more Krishi Vigyan Kendras in J&K and other hill states, with relaxed norms of land requirement, in order to strengthen the extension activities in the State.
Governor advised that we need to be focused regarding our targets and the challenges to prepare for achieving the goals of the II Green Revolution. He noted that the State’s import bill for meat, poultry and eggs is approximately Rs. 2,000 crores per annum and both the State Farm Universities and the State Agriculture Department need to prepare a well considered roadmap for making J&K a net exporter of fish, poultry, dairy and other Farm products. He noted that it would enormously boost the economy of J&K if the State Agriculture Department, in close concert with State Farm Universities, launches well planned initiatives to upgrade and modernize the entire live stock sector in the State. He lauded the efforts of the Farm Universities and State Agriculture Department in achieving satisfactory Seed Replacement Rates for various cereal and vegetable crops.
Referring to the projected very high yield of apples in the coming years, as a result of the introduction of High Density Apple orchards in the Valley, Governor stressed the urgent need to timely establish post harvest technologies, storage infrastructure and processing units to enable the growers to make the expected gains. He complimented Prof. Nazeer Ahmed, Vice-Chancellor, for the very promising work being done in Ladakh in animal husbandry, fruit crops and vegetable sectors where farmers are increasingly adopting the latest techniques to enhance their incomes.
Governor advised that while tackling our local challenges, we also need to devote urgent attention for dealing with the speedily advancing phenomenon of Global Warming and Climate Change which is already beginning to affect food, fruit, vegetable and animal production. He said that the time has come for Agriculture Universities to enhance research efforts in identified areas for timely developing new seeds and plants which will be compatible with the rapidly changing climatic patterns.
Governor observed that while the challenge before the country is to continuously increase its food production for feeding a population of 1.3 billion, which is still growing at a steady pace, in J&K we have to meet the challenge of neutralizing the annual food grains shortfall of about 5 to 6 lac metric tons and work towards becoming a food-grain exporting State. He advised that for increasing productivity, we shall need to achieve high efficiency levels in the utilization of our land and water resources; altogether prohibit conversion of productive arable lands for varied non-agricultural purposes and taketime bound steps to check the degradation of our land and water resources.
Governor thanked Dr Mohapatra, Secretary DARE and DG ICAR, and all his colleagues present at the function, for the strong support he has been providing to enhance agricultural productivity in J&K.
Governor released various research publications on the occasion.
Ministers and senior officers present on the occasion spoke about the challenges and technological breakthroughs in the Agriculture and allied sectors and the availability of new technologies and techniques to substantially increase farmers’ income.
Vice Chancellors of the Farm Universities of the states of J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand, scientists, students were among those present on the occasion.