Solutions should come from farmers, department is ready to lend the helping hand: Advisor Farooq Khan

SRINAGAR : Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Farooq Khan today suggested the farmers to propose solutions of their problems themselves. He asked them to be the drivers on the vehicle of problem solving instead of looking towards the administration only. The Advisor was speaking during an interactive session with farmers organised by Agriculture Department, Kashmir.

During his address the Advisor impressed upon the farmers to take full interest in farming as the fate of the trade is changing considerably. He maintained that farmers are happening to be job creators worldwide instead of job seekers. He said that the trade is gaining due recognition and respect from the last few years.

He advised the farmers to promote the indigenous brands under proper tagging, labelling and packaging. He asked them that income increases with innovative ideas not solely through administrative interventions.

Advisor Khan encouraged the farmers to make land their identity. He made out that the significance of land can be gauged by the fact that it can not be created afresh. He asked them to safeguard it for the sustainable gains instead of making short-term immediate profits through its conversion.

The Advisor asked the farmers to adopt the cooperative farming to maximize their gains and to solve the issue of small land holdings. He suggested them to embrace modern technology and techniques to multiply the margin of profit.

He asked youth to come forward and invest their intellect and energy in advancing the agriculture sector. He advised them to establish their own quality checking labs with full support of the administration. He made out that our lands are more promising than that of Europe. He stated that it only needs innovation to make improvements.

Advisor Khan asked both the officers and farmers to put their heads together and deliberate upon their issues. He asked them to propose solutions for each of the problem after assessing ground realities. He asked them to emulate the best models evolved world over in each sector of agriculture for increasing their income manifold.

Speaking on the occasion DG, Horticulture, Aijaz Ahmad Bhat informed that the department is set to distribute 10 lakh saplings of high density fruit varieties and encouraged farmers to come forward for the same.

He further said that the department has kept available the AC trucks for transportation of perishable items. He also revealed that there is a great scope in establishment of cold storage chains and vans as only 1.87 lakh metric tons capacity of such facilities are currently available here.

The Director Agriculture, Kashmir, Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary informed the Advisor that department has formulated and implemented various public outreach programmes. He informed that the department has initiated its Kharif campaign from the remote area of Tanghdar of district Kupwara and organic campaign from Gurez in district Bandipora.

Choudhary further revealed that the department is conducting farmer meetings in all the districts regularly. He further gave out that the policy of one farm one product has been introduced here fully. He said that it has made us self sufficient in potato and rice seed requirements producing record quantity of 8500 and 6000 quintals of these seeds respectively.

It was further said that around 1929 kgs of exotic seeds have been distributed to farmers free of cost. In addition to that it was said the farmers have been provided with the modern farm machinery like tractors, tillers, brush cutters, weeders, IP sets etc with substantial portion of subsidy on their cost. It was also given out that vegetables worth more than Rs 200 crores were exported from Kashmir this year.

The gathering was informed that substantial gains were made by the department in the promotion of mushroom, apiculture, lavender, zeera, sweet corn, exotic vegetables and organic farming in the region.

Those who spoke on the occasion includes MD, J&K HPMC, Shafat Sultan and Secretary, Advisory Board for Development of Kisans, Abdul Hamid besides several members of the board including a number of progressive farmers and FPO members.

Earlier the Advisor inspected the aeroponic towers developed by the departmental technocrats lead by Zahoor Reshi. The Advisor appreciated the department for making strides in such areas of agricultural engineering and development. He also inspected agriculture stalls installed by FPOs from different districts of the valley. The Advisor asked about each of the product on display and assured them of full support from the LG administration.

The Advisor also answered the queries of farmers during the interactive session held with them. Dozens of farmers from the length and breadth of valley participated in the session moderated by the officers of the department.