Agri sector suffered damages to tune of

JAMMU: Agriculture sector in Jammu and Kashmir witnessed a loss of over Rs 4,000 crore in the devastating floods last year, the state government said Thursday.
“The crop loss in respect of agriculture sector adopted by Revenue department due to incessant rains and floods in the state was of the order of Rs 4,043.65 crore and has recommended payment of ex-gratia relief to the extent of 50 per cent of Rs 2,022 crore. The proposal has been submitted to New Delhi,” Minister for Agriculture Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura said while replying to the demands for grants of agriculture department in the Legislative Assembly here.
For renovation of the infrastructure damaged by the floods, the state requires an estimated amount of Rs 61.27 crore, he said.
“It has been referred to the Planning and Development Department in the shape of detailed project reports,” he said. Under Nabard loan funding, he said, 13 project reports at an amount of Rs 58.39 crore were prepared and so far nine projects have been accorded administrative approval.
He said a working group of experts will be brought together who will guide the government as how to give boost to the agriculture and horticulture productivity for sustainable development.
The Minister said that the sale and stocking of substandard seeds, fertilisers and pesticides should not be allowed in the state.
The government will take “stringent measures” including cancellation of licences against those found indulged in this trade, he reiterated.
Under New Delhi-sponsored schemes, the department received an amount of Rs 196.33 crore, Hanjura said, adding that the introduction of Saffron Mission in the state has seen the average production of saffron increase from 2.5 kg per hectare during 2009-10 to 4 kg per hectare during 2014-15.
“The project is approved for an amount of Rs 400.11 crore under Saffron Mission,” he said. “An amount of Rs 179.72 crore stands released by the government of India against which Rs 142.72 crore has been expended ending Feb 2015,” he added. The income generation of farmers through the sale of cocoons during the current fiscal reached Rs 12.20 crore, he said.
During the current (crop) year, ending October, the cocoon growers got remunerative prices and the farmers in some markets fetched record high price of Rs 900 to Rs 1,000 per kg of dry cocoons compared to average price of Rs 397 last year showing an increase of 250 per cent,” he said.
The Minister said multiplication of basmati rice cash crop is done at Chakrohi Farm and a project of Rs 30.00 crore recommended by STF is nearing completion.
“For enhancing agricultural productivity on sustainable basis improving Seed Replacement Rate (SRR) is an important component, the Department of Agriculture has registered a 33 percent SRR of rice in Kashmir valley and 26.32 percent in Jammu Division,” he said.
The Minister said for diversification purposes new initiatives included Bamboo Mission, AYUSH Mission for production of medicinal plants was launched during 2014-15.
He said that against a target of 9.81 lakh farm Operating Families (FoFs), who have opted for availing Kissan Credit Card facility, 8.20 lakh Farm Operating Families were provided Kissan Credit Card upto Dec 31last year.
He said Waiver of 50 percent KCC loan is being extended to small and vulnerable marginal farmers in view of the crop loss.
An amount of Rs 150.00 crore has been proposed in the budget estimates of 2015-16 for this purpose, he said.
Earlier, the minister moved a demand for grants of a sum of Rs 142768.20 lakhs to defray the charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending March 31, 2016 for the departments under his charge.