Jammu: Agricultural Education Day was today celebrated at Sher-e -Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) Jammu.

Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has designated December 3rd as Agricultural Education Day to commemorate the birth anniversary of first president of Independent India and Union Minister of Agriculture, Bharat Ratna, Dr, Rajendra Prasad.

Commissioner Secretary, Higher Education, Talat Parvez Rohella, was Chief Guest , while Director School Education, Jammu, Anuradha Gupta and Director Colleges, Professor M.Y. Peerzada were Special Guests on the occasion.

The programme started with the lightening of the traditional lamp.

Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-Jammu, Professor J.P. Sharma, delivered a lecture on Agriculture Education and Career Opportunities. He informed that during Covid-19 pandemic growth of every sector declined and showed negative trends, but only agriculture sector showed positive growth of 3.4 per cent. He appreciated the untiring efforts of farmers, agriculture scientists and policy makers for the growth of agriculture during difficult time of Corona pandemic to ensure that every citizen of country gets three times food on daily basis. He briefed that agriculture is a broad science that starts from study of ground water to weather components like rainfall, humidity and precipitation.

Stressing on containing post harvest loses in J&K, which he said is more than 30 per cent against 15-20 per cent national level. He reiterated for tapping the huge scope of entrepreneurship in poultry, dairy, beekeeping, Hi-tech mushroom cultivation, hydroponics, vermi-compositing, floriculture, pecan nut, hing (Asfoetida), vertical farming, organic farming, tissue culture, protected cultivation, medicinal and aromatic plants in J&K.

The VC called for promotion of Crops grown in hills of J&K viz. Rajmash of Bhaderwah, Walnut of Poonch and Kalazeera of Kishtwar, which he said are by default organic.

Professor Sharma mentioned fisheries as another entrepreneurial opportunity having demand of 1.5 lakh tons, with only 20000 ton availability. He emphasized that need of the hour is not only to increase production but also marketing of agriculture commodities. He urged farmers for value addition of their products for realization of good returns. Prof Sharma suggested for bringing innovations in agriculture to increase its share in national GDP.

Commissioner/ Secretary, Higher Education, Talat Parvez Rohella, in his address hailed the lecture of Professor J.P. Sharma as eye opener for the audience as it encompassed the various areas of entrepreneurship development in agriculture and allied vocations.

He said that average land holding in J&K is only 0.59 ha and it is shrinking day by day. He reiterated the need to adopt latest agriculture interventions to feed the burgeoning population as the pressure on agriculture land is increasing day by day. He said that farmers in J&K should practice value addition. He said that under the target of NEP 2020, our colleges need to be converted into multidisciplinary institutes. He informed that various vocational programmes will be started in the colleges where the students undergoing these programmes will be awarded advanced certificate and degree programmes under the mentorship of SKUAST-Jammu. He thanked SKUAST-Jammu for accepting collaborations with higher education, Government of J&K in running skill development courses which in future will deliver providers rather than job seekers.

Earlier, he visited Bee- Keeping unit, Mushroom Production Unit, Integrated Farming System and School of Biotechnology and took stock of various development activities of these centres and also interacted with scientists.

All the statutory officers of the University, Head of the Divisions, KVK’s Faculty members, Principals of different colleges of Jammu region and students of Government Higher Secondary School, Bhour Camp, Army School Kalu Chak and SKUAST-Jammu attended the programme maintaining social distancing norms.

At the outset, Dr. Akhil Gupta welcomed the dignitaries and audience. The programme ended with vote of thanks by Dr. Rajesh Katoch Dean Student Welfare.