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Agri sector to get more share of J&K's budget component in future: Lt Guv

JAMMU: Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Monday said the agriculture sector will get more share of the union territory''s budget component in future.

He said that a unique sustainable agriculture plan has been developed in J&K, which currently caters to all developmental needs without compromising future potential.

Sinha made these remarks during the Horticulture-Expo 2021 here at Police Auditorium in Jammu city.

Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor observed that revolutionary changes are taking place in the agriculture and horticulture sectors in the union territory (UT) of J&K.

He said that the promotion of local produce and taking it to the global market is one of the key focus areas of the J&K government and the government is making continuous efforts to increase the resources and market linkages to further strengthen the horticulture sector.

While addressing the farmers, the Lt Governor said that the UT government would continue striving hard to provide the best and advanced technologies to farmers. Welfare of the farmer community and increasing their income manifold is the priority of the government, he added.

"I assure farmers that mandis are very much here to stay. In fact, they are getting strengthened and modernised. People should not spread false information and mislead the farmers," said the Lt Governor.

Sinha said the government is also setting up Farmers Producers Organizations in all the 20 districts of Jammu and Kashmir in the next three months to strengthen business activities related to agriculture and horticulture.

For the convenience of the farmers, free thresher is being provided in every panchayat of the UT. Road tax on tractors up to 3,000 CC capacity has also been exempted and no tax will be paid on power tillers, he added.

Underscoring the interventions being made by the government for progress and growth of agriculture and horticulture sectors, the Lt Governor observed that in the last few years, under the able guidance of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and because of the hard work of farmers, agricultural scientists, and the policies adopted by the Horticulture Department, J&K is getting distinct recognition in the world scenario.

The central government and UT administration are constantly making efforts and taking decisions so that not only farmers'' produce sees huge growth and gets three times the price, but can also receive greater handholding and end to end solutions, the Lt Governor observed.

For making J&K pioneer and self-reliant in food-safety, the Lt Governor asked the agriculture department to develop new state-of-the-art scientific research programmes and take these programmes from lab to farm under mission mode.

Reiterating government''s commitment for exploring all the possibilities for giving a further push to the development of priority sectors like agriculture and horticulture, the Lt Governor recalled the recently held NITI Aayog meeting in which he had requested the Prime Minister to provide the facility of dry port and international flights to Jammu and Kashmir so that products, including those related to agriculture and horticulture could be exported directly.

The Lt Governor has also requested the NITI Aayog that instead of spreading the resources, the central government could consider specific product-based funding programmes as National Saffron Mission was successful because of its focus on one product.

He observed that experiments like saffron mission can also be used for other crops such as apples, walnuts, almonds, etc, which can cover the entire value chain of inputs, farms, processing, packing, and storage. This will also reduce dependence on rice and wheat and the funding coming from the government will go directly to value addition and processing units, he added.

He said the government of Jammu and Kashmir has signed an MoU with NAFED, through which high-density apple, walnut, mango, strawberry, and litchi will be cultivated in 5,500 hectares in the next five years. NAFED will also create three cold storage clusters in Kathua, North and South Kashmir with an amount of Rs 500 crore.

Under “Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture or MIDH” of the government, many instruments and facilities are being provided to the farmers. A lot of facilities are being made available by the government to facilitate farmers and ensuring good health of crops, he said.

Subsidised rates are being made available to the farmers on the material for the high-density plantation, due to which the production has also increased almost four times, he added.

The Lt Governor observed that the Ministry of Agriculture of the central government has signed MoU with more than 60 countries, which includes cooperation in research and development in agriculture, horticulture, and other allied sectors as well as is providing a global market and full cooperation is also being provided by the government for all activities.

 

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PTI