Agriculture Department organizes farmers' awareness camps on Navroz

BUDGAM: On the eve of Navroz, Director Agriculture Kashmir Syed Aijaz Andrabi inaugurated transplanting day in District Budgam and conducted an extensive tour of vegetable clusters here at Bugam and Narkara.

The Director inaugurated various farmer friendly training programmes in the district. While interacting with a large gathering of farmers at Budgam, the Director highlighted importance of vegetable potential of the area. He said that Kashmir is gifted with a temperate climate and it can export more vegetables in the hot summer season to other states.

The Director said that valley produces vegetable worth Rs 1200 crores annually out of which vegetables worth Rs 600 crore are exported to other states. He said that farmers have reached a reasonable yield potential in vegetable production. "Now there is need for shifting to exotic and high value vegetable like broccoli, parsley and other varieties to earn more profit," he said. He emphasised upon proper marketing of Valley vegetables by constituting different groups and societies and branding the products, labelling and packaging in an attractive manner.

He encouraged the growers to form FPOs (Farmer produce organizations) and register themselves with the cooperatives and sell their produce under a brand name.

The Director also stressed on establishment of a Mandi in a nearby area by the local FPOs and seeking financial support from NABARD. The Director also assured the farmers to provide the transportation of their fresh vegetables to other states in refrigeration vans, which will be given by the department on the requirement of the growers.

In another event, organised at vegetable village Narkara, the Director, while interacting with the farmers, informed that a Mandi will be soon set up in the area by the assistance of NABARD.

Meanwhile, the local farmers sought enhancement of Polygreen Houses, IP Sets, equipments and insurance cover to the crops to save the losses during adverse conditions and natural calamities.

The Director assured the farmers for addressing their issues and problems. He also instructed the officers to identify 200 young entrepreneurs for special training in high tech vegetable cultivation through National Horticulture Board (NHB) in Pune and Bangaluru.

On the occasion, Chief Agriculture Officer informed that under vegetable cluster, 183 hectares of area is in Bugam and 240 hectares in Narkara of district Budgam. He said that efforts of the department are on to provide latest technologies and inputs to the farmers to give boost to the vegetable industry.

Joint Director Agriculture Inputs, Deepak Kumar Kuchroo, and Project Coordinator Mushroom Avinash Peer and senior Officers of the department were also accompanying.

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