Enthusiastic farmers, school children and entrepreneurs today thronged in large numbers to the ‘Northern India Regional Agriculture Fair’ organized by SKUAST-Jammu to see innovative technologies developed by the University.A special session on Agriculture Education was organized for school children.Professor J.P. Sharma, Vice-Chancellor, SKUAST-Jammu motivated school students to opt for agriculture, horticulture, forestry, agricultural engineering and veterinary sciences as a career option after 10th as agriculture education has immense scope both in public and private sector. He said that agriculture education prepares graduates for various entrepreneurial enterprises, thus making them job providers rather than job seekers. Dr. Ravi Shanker Sharma, Director School Education, Jammu was the Chairman of the session along with Dr. S.E.H. Rizvi, Dean Basic Sciences, SKUAST-Jammu. The third day of the agriculture fair was marked by an impressive flower, vegetable and fruit show at the main campus, Chatha of SKUAST-Jammu.Dr. S.K. Malhotra, Horticulture Commissioner, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, GoI was the chief guest and Dr. M.C. Sharma, Ex. Director cum Vice-Chancellor, Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly was guest of honour. The objective of the show was to motivate the farmers to adopt flower, vegetable and fruit cultivation for diversification of agriculture as these are cash crops and give high returns. Speaking during the show, Dr. S.K. Malhotra suggested the farmers to opt for flower, vegetable and fruit cultivation as these crops have immense scope in UT of J&K. He further said that Jammu is the city of temples and as such marigold has great demand throughout the year. He suggested that farmers should also grow rose, gladiolus, chrysanthemum, gerbera and tuberose as these ornamental plants are in great demand round the year especially during functions and ceremonies.
Flower show had 150 exhibits in 8 categories, namely, pot plants (foliage and flowering), cacti, bonsai, cut flowers, flower arrangement and dry flowers. Flower rangoli was also exhibited during the occasion which was highly appreciated by the rangoli lovers. In the vegetable show, 75 samples in 6 categories namely cole crops, root crops, tubers, onion- garlic and dehydrated vegetables from Kargil were also showcased. Processed products of fruits and vegetables were also displayed by the Division of Food Science and Technology, SKUAST- Jammu and Kashmir and the Department of Horticulture, Jammu.In addition to the flower show, other events of the day were Kisan Goshti, tug of war, passport mela and rural sports. During Kisan Goshti, lectures on improved technologies of agriculture and allied sectors were delivered by the experts. Also, during farmers-scientists interaction, queries of the farmers were satisfied by the scientists. Farmers also got firsthand experience of field crops during their visit to different experimental plots at the University farm. Cultural programme was also organized during Kisan Goshti where local artists of Jammu mesmerized the audience by their performance. During the agriculture fair farmers, farm women, school children and faculty members enthusiastically participated in various sports events. Earlier, during Agriculture Education session, expert lectures were delivered by Dr. Rajinder Peshin on ‘Why Agriculture Education Matters’ whereas Dr. Pranav Kumar spoke on the topic ``Career, Scope and Opportunities in Veterinary Sciences” to aware the school students about agriculture and allied education. Programme on “Innovations in Packaging” was also organized where Dr. Tanvir Alam, Director, Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) expressed his willingness to work in collaboration with SKUAST-Jammu. Dr. Amit Singla, Joint Director, (IIP), Ahmadabad and Rinkesh Butani, Technical Officer, IIP Delhi delivered technical lectures on innovations in packaging and technologies developed by IIP. The day ended with a mega cultural show performed by local artists, students and faculty members.