Farming of Future

Addressing the inaugural session of 6th J&K Agricultural Science Congress on Thursday, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha pointed out that the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir has diverse agro-climatic zones which provide ample scope of adopting farm-level diversifications. With this scientific solution, he said we can mitigate the impact of climate change and will be able to generate higher farm revenue from the same piece of land. Batting for chalking out an effective scientific strategy for organic and integrated farming, Sinha said our farmers should be provided necessary handholding and guidance on monoculture farming so that they could avail the benefits of this ‘Farming of Future’. He also advised for Rural Action Plan for innovation, technological advances, and digital agriculture to make rural communities accessible to the key flagship areas of the agriculture and allied sectors. Given the varied climatic conditions across different regions of J&K, farmers can therefore explore a wide range of crops suited to their specific microclimate. While traditional crops like rice and wheat continue to dominate, diversifying into high-value horticultural crops such as apples, cherries, walnuts, and saffron presents lucrative opportunities. Additionally, the cultivation of niche crops like olives, almonds, and medicinal herbs can cater to niche markets, offering premium prices and reducing dependency on traditional staples. Given the abundant forest cover and favorable climatic conditions, agroforestry and silviculture offer sustainable alternatives to conventional agriculture. Intercropping fruit trees with traditional crops, establishing timber and bamboo plantations, and promoting medicinal and aromatic plants cultivation can enhance land productivity, improve soil health, and contribute to biodiversity conservation. Agroforestry systems also provide ecological benefits such as carbon sequestration, watershed management, and erosion control. With growing consumer awareness about health and environmental sustainability, there is a burgeoning demand for organic and specialty agricultural products. Farmers in J&K can capitalize on this trend by transitioning to organic farming practices, obtaining organic certification, and tapping into niche markets for gourmet foods and indigenous crops. Specialty products like Kashmiri saffron, basmati rice, and organic honey have the potential to command premium prices in domestic and international markets. Beyond primary production, value addition and agribusiness ventures offer avenues for farm-level diversification. Establishing food processing units for fruits and vegetables, setting up cold storage and packaging facilities and venturing into agro-tourism and rural hospitality can create additional revenue streams and generate employment opportunities. Moreover, linkages with agri-enterprises and cooperatives can provide farmers with access to markets, technology, and financial support. One of the key pillars of this transformative agenda is the Holistic Agriculture Development Programme (HADP), designed to modernize agricultural practices, enhance productivity, and improve farmers’ livelihoods in Jammu and Kashmir. By integrating sustainable farming techniques, precision agriculture, and efficient resource management, HADP aims to create a resilient and vibrant agricultural sector capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st century. Furthermore, initiatives such as high-density plantation and the promotion of niche products with Geographical Indication tags are empowering farmers to diversify their agricultural activities and tap into lucrative markets.

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