Governor for Area Specific Approach to enhance Agricultural Productivity in the State
JAMMU : Mr. N.N Vohra, the Governor stressed the need for diversification of agriculture and for area specific approaches being followed for enhancing the agricultural productivity in the State. He said that we are still hovering around 2% annual growth in the agriculture, which is inadequate for achieving a higher level of GDP. He said this while speaking at a Seminar organized by the NABARD, Jammu, to commemorate the birth anniversary of Mr. Sheikh Abdullah. The theme of the seminar was, “Land Question- Agriculture Credit, Technology and Marketing Reforms for Inclusive Growth in Jammu and Kashmir” and the objective was to initiate a policy debate which would trigger radical land reforms in the State.
The Governor paid tribute to Mr. Sheikh Abdullah, and observed that he was a visionary leader who enacted Laws which enabled the actual tillers to gain land rights.
Referring to State Government Survey Reports the Governor observed that the State was importing mutton and poultry products worth nearly Rs. 1500 crore every year when if effective initiatives are taken, the State should be exporting meat, poultry and dairy products.
The Governor observed that the State encompasses different agro-climatic zones ranging from sub tropical to temperate to the high mountain areas, all of which provide opportunities for diversification of agricultural activities to promote forestry, horticulture, animal and sheep husbandry, poultry, fishery etc.
Concerned about the per hectare decline in agricultural production and productivity in the first Green Revolution areas since middle of 1990s, the Governor said that it is time that the State reviews its land laws and introduces pragmatic reforms and usher a Green Revolution in the State by augmenting the irrigation potential, introducing the High Yielding Varieties of seeds and application of technologies which will raise productivity. The Governor observed that as the average size of land holdings in J&K is about .66 hectare it is necessary to provide legal arrangements for lands of small farmers to be learned to enable collective farming which is commercially productive.
The Governor observed that for giving boost to “Secondary Agriculture” in the State, we need to strengthen the forward and backward linkages and establish Cold Storage Chains, Food Processing Units and other required facilities. He emphasised the need of doing away with the middleman and ensuring direct procurement from the farmers as this would provide remunerative prices to the farmers besides restraining inflation.
The Governor laid stress on good road connectivity to markets, digitization of land records, equipping Agriculture Markets and Mandis with modern technologies, including Internet and other facilities to provide real time information about market prices etc. He also stressed tight coordination between all the agencies engaged in the enhancement of agricultural productivity so that a cohesive approach could be implemented to bring rapid development in the agriculture sector of the State.
The Governor, on the occasion, released a published volume of 6 research papers on the topics of agricultural marketing, production, technology and institutional credit.
The Key Note Address on the ocassion was delivered by Dr. P.G. Chengappa, former Vice Chancellor of University of Agricultural Sciences, Banglore and ICAR National Professor. He highlighted that there was a policy vacuum in Jammu and Kashmir for achieving sustainable and rapid agricultural development. He urged the development of “Secondary Agriculutre” based on value addition, processing and collectives of organized farmers.
The Welcome address was presented by Dr. B.G. Mukhopadhyay, Chief General Manager NABARD Jammu. Mr. Mohinder Kumar, Assistant General Manager, NABARD, Jammu and Kashmir presented a brief on the research papers to be discussed in the Seminar.
Mr Jalil Ahmad Khan, Economic Advisor to the Jammu and Kashmir Government, Mr. Asgar Hassan Samoon, Commissioner, Agricultural Production, Dr. R.N kulkarni Chief General Manager NABARD- Head Office, Mumbai were among the distinguished Guests in the Seminar.