Mehbooba fixes achievable targets for agri turnaround

Jammu: Describing agriculture as the bright spot in state’s economy, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday fixed achievable targets for a quick turnaround in the sector with an aim of making Jammu and Kashmir self-sufficient in farm produce.

As a testament to the fertility of the land for certain kind of crops, she suggested popularizing the concept of model villages for basmati, mushkbudgi, apple, saffron and walnut to set the agriculture sector rolling on the path of recovery.

“Our land is fertile and we have enough water resources.

I wonder why our production is not picking up,” she wondered while expressing concern over using only one-third of the state’s potential in agriculture sector.

The Chief Minister made these remarks while reviewing the functioning of the Agriculture Production Department (APD) at the Civil Secretariat here.

The Chief Minister called for fundamental change in the working of the department so that shortage of food-grains is met by becoming self-sufficient in agriculture production.

She asked the officers in the department not to confine themselves to routine administrative work, mostly restricting themselves to distribution of seeds and fertilizers only and not ignore the more important component of extension work and demonstration of technology to the farmers.

“Unless the technology travels from laboratory to farms, there is very little we can do to enhance crop output,” she said.

“We need to show visibility of schemes by ensuring access of quality seeds, irrigation and power to the farming community in an absolutely hassle-free manner,” she told the officers, adding otherwise the government will be constrained to explore the option of involving experts from outside the state to obtain desirable results.

Indicating a tie-up between the farmers and the agriculture entrepreneurs, Mehbooba said the job of the department is to increase productivity so that there is corresponding rise in the farmers’ income.

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