Advisor to Governor Khurshid Ahmed Ganai today exhorted upon the Agriculture department functionaries to redouble their efforts for sustained growth of agriculture sector, while calling for introduction of agriculture models that can substantially increase farmer’s income.The Advisor was speaking at a meeting convened to review the functioning of Agriculture, Horticulture and Floriculture departments here today.The meeting was attended by Secretary, Agriculture Production Department Manzoor Ahmad Lone, Director Floriculture, Jammu, BabilaRakwal, Director Horticulture, Anuradha Gupta, Commissioner JMC, Arvind Kotwal Additional District Development Commissioner SuriyaJabeen, Director Agriculture Department H.K. Razdan, Chief Agriculture Officers of various districts, representatives of JDA, Housing Board besides other senior functionaries of concerned departments.
Underscoring the need for having dependable irrigation network, Ganai referred to the historic agreement signed recently between J&K and Punjab governments on the implementation of Shahpur Kandi Dam Project.He said the Project will immensely benefit the districts of Kathua and Samba and parts of Jammu district through the 79.5 km Ravi Canal and 493 km distribution network.It will irrigate 32,000 hectares of agricultural land (80,000 acres)in the Kandi areas, upstream and downstream along the Jammu-Pathankot national highway in Samba and Kathua districts” he added.
The Advisor stressed on encouraging farmers to adopt rainwater harvesting to ensure better availability and utilization of water for irrigation purposes.
He further asked to develop community water storage structures to overcome problem of limited irrigation facilities in rain fed areas.The Advisor further stressed on the promotion and better marketing of Indigenous Basmati Rice, which is famous across the world. He exhorted upon the field functionaries to reach out to the farmers with the technological innovations and research work to enhance their production.He asked for holding regular awareness camps and training programmes to acquaint the farmers in far off areas with modern techniques for commercial agriculture, emerging trends in organic farming, processing, marketing and production aspects of different crops on scientific lines. “With the changing times the focus should be on integrated and organic farming to fetch good monetary returns” he stressed.
Emphasizing on switching over to agricultural models that increase farmers’ income, the advisor said focus should be on improving productivity, lowering costs, enhancing efficiency, providing market access to farmers, making them producers of products rather than commodities.Taking detailed review of performance of the Horticulture department, the Advisor said that mandate of the department is to facilitate growers with technical knowledge, machinery, marketing avenues. He directed to provide quality fruit sapling to growers including walnut, citrus, litchi etc. He asked the officers to explore area wise scope for development of the sector so that maximum available potential can be tapped.Highlighting the importance of flower cultivation, the Advisor said that commercial Floriculture has high potential in the region and Governor’s administration will examine the means of providing better marketing avenues to make it an economically viable activity. He also directed the department to ensure better upkeep of the parks and take requisite steps for their beautification. He gave specific directions for developing existing parks in Channi Himmat and Gandhi Nagar.The meeting also discussed issues including fixation of MSP for Basmati by GOI in the interest of about ninety-two thousand Basmati Growers of the State, Pesticide residual problem in Samba area, monkey menace causing damage to crops, Organic farming, water harvesting issues and promotion of local specialties like Rajmash, Garlic in the respective areas along with market linkages.Earlier, Manzoor Ahmad Lone Secretary to Government Agriculture Production Department presented the overall view of activities, achievements of the Department and highlighted the issues in the implementation of various farmers’ welfare schemes.