Minister for Agriculture Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura today said that agricultural output and productivity tend to contribute substantially to overall economic development of the country and it will be appropriate to place greater emphasis on further development of the agricultural sector.The Minister stated this during inaugural function of two-day long International Conference on the theme “Economic Growth and Structural Changes: Trend, Pattern and Policies” organized by School of Economics, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University (SMVDU), Katra in collaboration with the Indian Economics Association here.Among others, Vice-Chancellor, SMVDU Prof. Sanjeev Jain, General Secretary and Treasurer, Indian Economic Association Dr. Anil Kumar Thakur, Joint Secretary, Indian Economic Association Dr. Devendra Awasthi, Dean Faculty of Management Prof. Dr Mukhopadhyay, Prof B. Kamaiah, scientists, scholars and students were present on the occasion.Addressing the gathering, the Minister highlighted the role of agriculture sector in the state as well as in the Indian economy. He spoke in length about several issues including agricultural land shrinkage and farmer suicides in the country.
The Minister also highlighted the government’s vision of doubling the farmers’ income by 2022. He urged the scientists/researchers working in the field of agriculture to reach out to the farmers with the technological innovations and research work to the fields to enhance their production.Emphasizing that focus should shift to agricultural models that increase farmers’ income, the Minister said this can only be brought about by improving productivity, lowering costs, enhancing efficiency, providing market access to farmers, making them producers of products rather than commodities.He further said that the government has taken a number of initiatives for development of Agriculture, allied sectors with focused strategy to increase production, productivity of crops and to enable farmers to take advantage of market opportunities.For the growth of agriculture and to cover risk of farmers from climate adversities, the Pradhan Mantri FasalBima Yojana has also been started in the state this year, the Minister informed.
He said that the government would establish cold chain infrastructure to boost production in agriculture and allied sectors to tap demand at national level at the appropriate time.He informed that the government has established Rice Cluster at R.S Pura and Suchetgarh in Jammu under which thrust is being given to the promotion of Indigenous Basmati Rice, which is famous all over the world. With an objective to popularize latest technological knowhow for enhancing production and productivity of vegetables in identified cluster areas, intensive Vegetable Development clusters would be also be established in both regions of the state, he added.He informed that the government has given incentives to the Organic Vegetable growers in Leh and Kargil to increase the production of organic farming.The suggestions/deliberations that came out from the conference included the ways to increase production and marketing of the agro-products. The Conference evoked massive response as is evident from more than 150 participants having registered for the event from all over India and abroad.The Vote of Thanks was delivered by the Local Organizing Secretary, Dr. Kakali Majumdar.