Addressing 4th Convocation of the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Jammu (SKUAST-J) was held here at General Zorawar Singh Auditorium, Governor NN Vohra highlighted the vital importance of Agriculture and its allied sectors in the economy of the State.
He said that well over 70% of the total population of the State is dependent on agriculture and its allied sectors. Any stagnation or adverse effects in this sector, he said, would have serious consequences for achieving targets of food security and the economic well being of farmers.
According to an official statement, during the Convocation, the Chancellor awarded 52 Ph.D. degrees in Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences; 317 Master degrees in Agriculture, Biotechnology and Veterinary Sciences; 358 Bachelor degrees in Agriculture Biotechnology and Veterinary Sciences; 9 Gold Medals and 173 Certificates of Merit.
Quoting statistics from the State Government Economic Survey Report (2014-15) the Governor showed his concern about the net fall in the annual food grain production in the State.
“Exhorting the agriculture scientists to identify the factors leading to slow growth and fall in production, he stressed the need of new initiatives being taken for significantly improving the production and productivity, particularly of the small and marginal land holdings,” the statement quoted the Governor as having said.
“To make Jammu and Kashmir self-reliant and a net exporter in this sector in the coming years,” the Governor stressed the need for efficient utilization of limited land resources, modernizing agricultural practices, large scale and sustained seed replacement programme, introduction of high yielding varieties, ensuring adequate irrigation facilities, adoption of multi-cropping patterns and other interventions for increasing agri-productivity.
The Governor appreciated the progress achieved in the past years for improving the Seed Replacement Rate and stressed the continuation of such initiatives for achieving progressively better outcomes.
The Governor suggested promotion of niche products like the traditional rice and basmati varieties, rajmash, saffron, anardan; promotion of organic farming; livestock rearing and dairy farming; proliferation of poultry and fish farming; establishment of marketing and post harvest facilities etc. on an extensive scale, and continuing research and extension interventions.
The Governor observed that the farmers, entrepreneurs, agriculture scientists should suggest innovations in promoting value addition to the farm products. He said that by taking the required measures the State will not only meet its own requirements but also generate surpluses which would contribute to the socio-economic development of the State and generate employment opportunities for the people at their doorsteps.