SRINAGAR: Advisor to Governor, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai on Wednesday said that the government is working on a new agriculture policy that will go a long way in developing and expanding the most important sector of the state.
The Advisor said this after inaugurating a day-long Kissan Mela at the lawns of SKICC here on Wednesday. Around 200 farmers who had come from different areas of Kashmir participated in the event that also included a session with agricultural experts.
While addressing the event, Ganai said the agriculture and allied sectors are the backbone of state economy and all measures will be taken for development and expansion of these key sectors. He said the new agriculture policy would be formulated by an expert committee comprising Vice Chancellors of SKUAST Kashmir and Jammu.
The Advisor expressed concern over the unabated conversion of agricultural land for non-farming purposes. He said both residential and commercial buildings are coming up on the agricultural land, which needs to be checked and curbed.
The Advisor said that agricultural and allied sectors contributed around 20 percent to GSDP but just a small portion of budget is being spent on the development of agriculture sector. He said the new agriculture policy will take care of all the problems being faced by the vital sector which employs millions of people.
While stressing on the need to bridge the gap between laboratory and land, Ganai asked the SKUAST to set-up extension centres in all the districts so that the new technology, new seeds and latest scientific advances reach to the farmers at the earliest.
To check the sub-standard pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers and perform other tests, a high-tech laboratory would be soon established in Srinagar. The Advisor said that the government has already sanctioned Rs 98 lakh for the said laboratory.
He called for quadrupling the yield of fruit trees by adopting high density fruit trees. An amount of Rs 500 crores has been set aside for high density fruit plantation in the Prime Ministers Package. Ganai said 50 hectares are being brought under high density fruit plantation this year and order for such plant material and rootstock has already been placed. He said that the high density trees will mature in just three years and yield four times more crop.
Department of agriculture and allied sectors had set up 22 stalls exhibiting new hybrid seeds, new plant material, farm machinery, products, organic fertilizers and other products.
The Advisor also interacted with farmers and listened to their grievances. He assured them that government is committed to help the farmers in every way. He asked the agricultural officials to shun their offices and work in the field to bring another green revolution in the state.
Director Agriculture Kashmir Showkat Ahmad Beigh, Director Rural Development, Director Horticulture Kashmir and other officials were also present on the occasion.