JAMMU: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha today addressed the first Zonal Convention on Natural Farming at SKUAST-Jammu.
The two-day convention on the theme “Natural Farming: A National Priority for Human Health and Ecological Restoration” will focus on the major thrust areas of environmental safety, public health and agricultural sustainability towards ensuring growth and prosperity of the farming community.
Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor congratulated AGRIVISION and SKUAST-Jammu for organizing the convention on the relevant topic of natural farming.
He said that such deliberations will help the policy makers, planners, and farmers to focus on increasing the sustainability of farm livelihoods, environmental safety, and human health.
The Lt Governor said that J&K UT is giving major impetus to natural and organic farming and has registered a record increase in terms of area covered under organic certification in a sustainable manner.
Today, J&K is amongst the major organic producing States/UTs in the country. We are methodically developing a robust ecosystem by extending financial assistance, technological and marketing support for better realization of prices to farmers, the Lt Governor added.
With the combination of market linkages, large scale mechanization, organic farming, and farmer-centric reforms, we have made significant achievements in increasing our farmers’ income, wherein J&K ranks third in the list of top five states in terms of relative income of farmers. Our agriculture sector is going to contribute substantially towards realizing the goal of a self-reliant India, the Lt Governor said.
The Lt Governor observed that in the long run, organic farming with technology based assistance will reduce the input cost and usher in rural prosperity.
“Natural & organic farming can effectively tackle the challenges posed by climate change and soil degradation. We are addressing the concerns of small and marginal farmers, and instead of narrow silos, agriculture & allied sector is being developed to ensure farm sustainability for the farmers”, the Lt Governor said.
Expressing gratitude to Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for making organic farming a mass movement, the Lt Governor urged the farming community to pay more attention to diversification along with shift to organic farming.
He stressed that this integrated approach in agriculture can only facilitate sustainability and growth, thereby achieving Gram Swaraj and Anna Swaraj.
The Lt Governor also underlined the importance of harnessing the full potential of organic farming, and utilizing local resources, besides developing the infrastructure keeping in mind the requirements of the national and international markets.
This year’s budget of the UT has a huge allocation of Rs 2835 crore for the agriculture sector and Rs 646 crore for the horticulture sector. For the development of the dairy and sheep sector, Rs 392 crore has been allocated to bring positive changes in the lives of the farming community, the Lt Governor observed.
The Lt Governor noted that collective efforts are being made to bring down the usage of fertilizers. Subsidy is being provided to the entrepreneurs under One District One Product, and dairy industry, besides nine lakh farmers will be provided with improved quality seeds. We also aim to add another two lakh metric tonnes into the food processing and storage capacity, he added.
On the occasion, the Lt Governor called upon the officials and agricultural scientists to consistently disseminate relevant and authentic information to the farmers regarding the organic farming so that small and marginal farmers can also take advantage of it.
Whilst the incentives of government facilitate move towards sustainability, our agricultural scientists must look forward to develop technologies that enhance productivity and at the same time maintain the fertility of land, besides focusing on increasing production of oilseeds, expansion of micro-irrigation facilities and use of high yielding seeds on priority basis, added the Lt Governor.
The Lt Governor further advised scientists to publish their research findings in vernacular languages making it easily accessible for the local farming community and maximum percolation of knowledge from universities to farms.
Earlier, the Lt Governor conferred Krishak Rattan and entrepreneurial awards to Padma Shri Bharat Bhushan Tyagi, Sh. Javed Ahmed, Sh. Sham Singh Chowdhary, Sh. Sanjay Kumar and Sh. Dinkar Kaushal for their contribution in natural farming. He also laid the foundation stone for the International Family Hostel at SKUAST and visited various stalls put up by the Starts-Ups.
Prof. J.P. Sharma, VC, SKUAST-Jammu in his address lauded the Lt Governor led government for promoting innovation, incubation, start up, national saffron mission, high density plantation, custom hiring, central machinery bank, value addition, processing, marketing and transportation of perishable agriculture produce at reasonable rates for hand holding and increasing income of the farmers of the UT.
It is time to take big steps, take agriculture out of labs, and associate it with nature, he added.
The VC also thanked the Lt Governor for new KVK’s, grant of new Faculties along with positions and infrastructural development of the Agrivarsity. He said that for the last one and a half years, the university has released 21 varieties of crops for the region.
Prof. Pradeep Kumar, Dean, School of Life Sciences, Central University, Dharamshala, H.P., in his address, highlighted the importance of organic and natural farming to meet the needs of the people.
Sh. A.K. Sood, CGM, NABARD, said that NABARD is consistently working in its endeavour to promote sustainability in agriculture through sustainable and equitable agriculture and rural development.
During the inaugural session, Souvenir of the convention; Postal Card of Jammu Basmati-118, besides two publications – “Jammu Khite Ch Rai Bai” and “Jewik Paristhhio me Sabzio me Fal Makhi Praband” were released by the dignitaries.
Earlier, Sh. Gajendra Singh, Former National Convenor Agrivision highlighted the initiatives taken by Agrivision to raise the voice for agricultural reforms and fostering links between agricultural students and farmers.
Dr. A.P. Singh, Organizing Secretary of the convention presented the welcome address, while proceedings were conducted by Sh. Deepak Pandey and vote of thanks was presented by Sh. Radhe Shyam Kumawat.
Prof. R.K. Sinha, VC SMVDU; Prof. Bechan Lal, VC, Cluster University of Jammu; Prof. Nazir Ahmad Ganai, VC, SKUAST-Kashmir; Prof. N.S. Rathore, VC, MPUAT, Udaipur, Prof. B.R. Kamboj, VC, HAU, Hissar; Prof. Prabha Shankar Shukla, VC NEHU, Shillong; Sh. D V Mahesh Chief Postmaster General (CPMG), J&K, Circle; Dr. Raghav Langer, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu; Sh. Anshul Garg, DC Jammu; HoDs; statutory officers of the University, Heads of Divisions, staff members, a large number of farmers and students were present on the occasion.