A two day regional conference on “Specialty Agriculture in the context of Farm Economy of Himalayan Region” commenced from today at SKUAST-Jammu.The conference is being organized by the Division of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Management SKUAST-Jammu in collaboration with Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, Mumbai.
In his inaugural address, Prof. J.P. Sharma, Vice-Chancellor of the University who was the chief guest on the occasion congratulated the Division of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Management for organizing this mega event.
He said that in the present era, agriculture is facing a lot of challenges regarding water scarcity, declining land availability, land fragmentation, wastage of agricultural produce, disinterest of youth towards agriculture and migration of rural people towards urban areas.
To overcome these challenges, he suggested transforming conventional agriculture into agri-business enterprise with focus on specialty agriculture. He also talked about the Prime Minister’s vision of zero hunger through zero wastage.
He stressed upon processing, waste management, value addition and marketing of the agriculture produce through promotion of FPOs and cooperative societies in the country to empower farmers.
Dr. Krishan Bir Choudhary, President, Bharatiya Krishak Samaj and guest of honour of the function discussed about the diverse agro-ecological conditions of Himalayan region and termed them as the treasure of knowledge and life supporter of the millions.
He further revealed that the region supports diverse flora and fauna.He appreciated the role of farm women in home making, agriculture and dairying and stressed upon the need that value added products of FPOs created by the SKUAST-Jammu should be promoted at the national and international level as they are in great demand.
He also pointed out that a large area of J&K is by default organic in nature and the need of the hour is to provide large area organic certification to these areas so that produce from such areas can be marketed as organic products which will fetch good prices and enhance farmers’ income. He stressed that KVKs should work as Krishi Gyan Kendras.
Dr. H.R. Sharma, former Pro Vice Chancellor CUHP, Dharamshala and guest of honour gave a detailed overview of the activities of Indian Society of Agricultural Economics and its role in agriculture development.
He shared his experience of working in Himachal Pradesh and revealed how the hilly state has transformed itself from cereal based crops to high value crops keeping the need and demand of the market. He also stressed upon the cultivation of crops that can cope up climate change challenges.
Dr. M. M. Jha, Director Central Sanskrit University, Jammu and special guest said that for sustainable agriculture development and livelihood, Indian Knowledge System based on Vedic traditions needs to be followed.
At the outset, Dr. Jyoti Kachroo, organizing secretary of the regional conference presented a welcome address and elaborated the detailed programme of two days conference. She said that around 315 delegates have registered for the conference which include around 150 members of the scientific community, 160 students along with industry corporate professionals throughout the country.
She further said that around 56 delegates shall be joining through online mode and 50 entries have been received for the poster presentation. Eight technical sessions have been scheduled during the course of these two days to discuss and dwell deep into the main themes and come out with the suitable way forward in these broad areas. During the inaugural session six publications including souvenir-cum-abstract books were released by the dignitaries.
First lady of the University Dr. Sumati Sharma, former ADG, DRDO, Director Agriculture, Director Horticulture, Director Command Area Development, Director Sheep Husbandry, statutory officers of the University, staff members, students and media personnel were also present on the occasion. Proceedings of the inaugural programme were conducted by Dr. Sachin Gupta and Dr. Anil Bhat while vote of thanks was presented by Dr. Sudhakar Dwivedi.