Elevating Competitiveness

1 min read
editorial

The Administrative Council (AC) of Jammu and Kashmir has given due consideration to the Project Design Report (PDR) on the Competitiveness Improvement of Agriculture and Allied Sectors Project (JKCIP) in the Union Territory (UT). This ambitious initiative aims to bring about positive changes in the agricultural landscape of J&K. The JKCIP unfolds as an extensive seven-year project, strategically implemented across 90 blocks in all 20 districts of the UT. With the backing of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) amounting to 100 million USD, the project aspires to make substantial strides in elevating the competitiveness of farming operations. At its core, the project envisions a sustained increase in incomes for rural households. The overarching objective of the JKCIP is to enhance the competitiveness of farmers through a holistic value chain approach. This approach encompasses production, value addition, marketing, and the vital component of business incubation with robust support for start-ups and agri-enterprises. The comprehensive scope of the project extends to reach 300,000 households, targeting specific demographics – 141,000 women (47%), 90,000 youth (30%), and 30,000 vulnerable communities (SCs/ STs) (10%), ultimately impacting around 1.5 million individuals. The JKCIP stands on four interlinked components, each playing a crucial role in driving the transformation of the agricultural sector. The project aims to implement sustainable and market-oriented agricultural practices that are resilient to climate change. This involves the training of trainers and farmers, establishment of water management systems, promotion of protected cultivation units, and the expansion of niche crops to diversify the production landscape. Boosting entrepreneurship and creating a conducive ecosystem for agri-business development is a pivotal component. This includes the establishment of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), both new and strengthened existing ones, facilitating training programs, and extending support to business incubation and start-ups. Aligning with IFAD’s priorities, the project places a special emphasis on uplifting vulnerable groups, including Scheduled Tribes (STs), Scheduled Castes (SCs), etc. Ensuring effective and efficient project implementation requires robust project management. This pillar focuses on the seamless execution, monitoring, and evaluation of the entire project, ensuring that the envisioned outcomes are achieved within the stipulated timelines. The anticipated outcomes of the JKCIP are both transformative and far-reaching. The project envisions the establishment of 45 new FPOs, further strengthening 56 existing ones. Beyond organizational support, it emphasizes capacity building, with plans to train 1,085 trainers and 16,200 farmers. Additionally, the project aims to implement 800 water management systems, set up 1,650 protected cultivation units, and expand niche crops across 2,805 hectares, benefitting 14,025 farmers. In accordance with IFAD’s mainstreaming priorities, the JKCIP uniquely addresses the vulnerabilities of specific communities, ensuring that the benefits of the project are equitably distributed. Therefore, JKCIP holds the potential to usher in a new era for the farmers in Jammu and Kashmir. However, the ambitious project needs to be properly implemented on ground so that the farmers and other stakeholders of the agriculture sector across the UT get its benefits.

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