The two days workshop on promotion of organic farming in Jammu and Kashmir was today inaugurated by Principal Secretary, Agriculture Production & Farmers Welfare Department (AP&FWD), Navin Kumar Choudhary in presence of Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-K, Prof. JP Sharma here.The workshop is being organized by SKUAST(K) in collaboration with Agriculture Production & Farmers Welfare Department Kashmir with an aim to develop a frame work for promoting organic farming system in J&K.Speaking on the occasion, Principal Secretary AP&FWD, laid stress that scientists and officers of the department should develop a mechanism for inculcating organic culture among the farming community. He informed that hard targets have to be kept for next 3 years in order to make transition towards organic agriculture. He added that marketing and packaging along with regress certification in organic products have to be undertaken to facilitate promotion of organic farming at grass root level.The Principal Secretary asked the scientists of the university to prioritize the research based on farmer issues. He further asked them to work in an integrated manner in order to convert farmer into agri-entrepreneur and also encourage value addition of low volume-high value products.On the occasion, Vice Chancellor SKUAST (K) complimented the Principal Secretary for his active role in conceptualizing this workshop in order to make the dream of organic farming a reality in the UT.He apprised the Principal Secretary that the university is working in close coordination with the department for mapping different districts in order to revise the organic map in the UT so that One District One Product is identified for its further promotion and branding.
The Vice Chancellor highlighted that the recommendations of this workshop will not be merely an academic exercise but a plan to be implemented on the ground. He informed that the syllabus of organic farming has been devised and handed over to department of education for incorporation in the school curcurriculum.On the occasion Director Agriculture Kashmir Chowdhary M. Iqbal expressed gratitude to the Principal Secretary AP&FWD for his efforts in notifying two organic certification agencies for the UT and devising programs for strengthening the Organic farming. He desired that this work shop shall be helpful for farmers and entrepreneurs to learn standards of organic farming from the experts/ scientists across the country.Director General Horticulture, Aijaz Ahmad Bhat, while speaking during the workshop, stressed on augmenting organic input production to reduce dependence on chemical fertilizers and termed the workshop a good beginning.Earlier prominent progressive farmers, Bharat Bhushan Tyagi (Padmashri Awardee), Masarat and Irshad Ahmad Dar spoke about the opportunities of organic farming and identified issues pertaining to FPO’s, Package of Practices and augmenting vermin compost units across the UT to promote soil health and livelihoods. They hoped that this workshop will be a platform to learn and earn from organic farming.During the technical session of the workshop deliberations were made upon the opportunities and challenges and devising policy guide lines for promoting organic farming in JK encompassing the transition process, production to marketing, value chain as well as issues related to certification.The workshop was attended by Galaxy of scientists, National advisory within and outside UT, Director Extension, Director Research, Deans of Faculties, Registrar, Directors of Development Department, Scientists, Joint Directors, District Officers, National/ Local Farmer and budding entrepreneurs in organic farming.