In a significant development, the LG of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha Monday said that Agriculture sector will get more share of the Jammu and Kashmir’s budget component in future. A unique Sustainable Agriculture Plan, he said, has been developed in J&K, which currently caters to all developmental needs without compromising future potential. The LG said the promotion of local produce and taking it to the global market is one of the key focus areas of J&K Government and the Government is making continuous efforts to increase the resources and market linkages to further strengthen the horticulture sector. It is a welcome development that the government in J&K is focusing on developing horticulture and agriculture sectors since these two are the backbone of J&K’s economy. Unfortunately, these sectors have hardly received the sort of support and attention they should have over the decades. While tourism as a sector has always been the centre of attention for any government in J&K, hardly any of them have given even half of the attention to agriculture. Kashmir being an agri-economy is a fact and the sooner government acknowledges and works for it, the better. Hence, the LG’s remarks about the support and development of agriculture and allied sectors is a pleasing development. The Lt Governor said that the government is also setting up Farmers Producers Organizations in all the 20 districts of Jammu and Kashmir in the next three months to strengthen business activities related to agriculture and horticulture. For the convenience of the farmers, free thresher is being provided in every panchayat of the UT. Road Tax on Tractors up to 3000 CC capacity has also been exempted and no tax will be paid on power tillers, he added. Underscoring the interventions being made by the Government for progress and growth of agriculture and horticulture sectors, the Lt Governor observed that in the last few years, under the able guidance of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and because of the hard work of our farmers, agricultural scientists, and the policies adopted by the Horticulture Department, J&K is getting distinct recognition in the world scenario. Central Government and UT Administration are constantly making efforts and taking decisions so that not only Farmers’ produce sees huge growth and gets three times the price, but can also receive greater handholding and end to end solutions, the Lt Governor observed.
For making J&K pioneer and self-reliant in food-safety, the Lt Governor asked the Agriculture Department to develop new state-of-the-art scientific research programs and take these programs from lab to farm under mission mode. Reiterating Government’s commitment for exploring all the possibilities for giving a further push to the development of priority sectors like agriculture and horticulture, the Lt Governor recalled the recently held NITI Aayog meeting in which he had requested the Hon’ble Prime Minister to provide the facility of dry port and international flights to Jammu and Kashmir so that products, including those related to agriculture and horticulture could be exported directly. The Lt Governor has also requested the NITI Aayog that instead of spreading the resources, the central government could consider specific product-based funding programs as our National Saffron Mission was successful because of its focus on one product. He observed that experiments like Saffron Mission can also be used for other crops such as apples, walnuts, almonds, etc., which can cover the entire value chain of inputs, farms, processing, packing, and storage. This will also reduce dependence on rice and wheat and the funding coming from the government will go directly to value addition and processing units.