Governor N.N. Vohra, Tuesday emphasized the need for evolving fresh approaches for marketing of agriculture produce through closer involvement with marketing cooperatives, sale of fresh fruits and vegetables through roadside kiosks.
Vohra said this while chairing the 31st University Council meeting of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir (SKUAST-K), held here at the Raj Bhavan.
Ghulam Nabi Lone, Minister for Agriculture Production also participated in the discussions.
Chancellor released a number of the research based publications brought out by the University, which included “Market Integration and Price Forecasting : The Case of Apple Markets in India”; “Sustaining Rice Farming in Kashmir Valley”; “Saffron Production Under High Density Plantation in Jammu & Kashmir”; “ Final Report (2006-2017) on Contemporary Studies on Livelihood and Food Security done by Prof. M.H. Wani, Rajiv Gandhi Chair; “Saeb Key Meyari Pydawar Zerposhi Intihaye Aahum”; and a Compact Disc on Integrated Development of Saffron Under the National Saffron Mission.
Observing that the State has a highly diverse topography, the Chancellor advised Pramod Kumar Jain, Financial Commissioner Agricultural Production Department, to formulate an area- based agriculture growth policy so that targeted technological interventions can be made for increasing food production and productivity and also directed him to ensure strict regulation to ensure against the sale of spurious pesticides.
He directed the Vice Chancellors of both the Farm Universities to explore ways and means for increasing internal revenue generation by their Universities.
The Chancellor emphasized the urgent need to expedite completion of residential projects in the University, particularly those meant for the girl students.
The Council approved the Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) of teachers, along with Academic Performance Indicator (API) score card for promotion of Teachers and Scientists of the University, which shall be applicable from the date as applicable to UGC/ICAR Guidelines i.e. 01.01.2009. The teachers/ scientists eligible for promotion/placement or those already promoted/placed under the CAS w.e.f. 01.01.2009 shall be governed by the UGC Regulations notified on 30.06.2010.
Vice Chancellor Dr. Nazeer Ahmed made a detailed presentation on the various initiatives which had been undertaken by the University since the last Council meeting. He informed that the University has undertaken resource mapping of different districts of Kashmir region; Geo referenced soil fertility maps of all the districts of Kashmir Valley have been developed and digital maps are available on SKUAST-K website www.skuastkashmir.ac.in for use by the farmers to select cropping patterns of their choice. Further, the University has analysed 4,711 soil samples and issued 4,127 Soil Health Cards till date through its KVKs.
Giving details of the Research and Development activities carried out by the University, the VC informed that: the Dry Land Agricultural Research Station, Budgam, has been recognized for development of drought tolerant maize varieties by CIMMYT and Pulse Seed hub by ICAR; 15 new projects worth Rs. 13.25 crores have been approved by the various external funding agencies.
VC informed that the University successfully completed counselling and filled cent percent undergraduate and 45 percent post graduate seats in the current academic session.
The University has instituted a Master’s programme in Horti-Business Management and Certificate Courses in basic horticulture, landscape gardening, ornamental fisheries, aquaculture, diploma in plant protection and skill development programme in mushroom production, beekeeping, commercial poultry, silkworm rearing, orchard management etc; established high density apple orchards at seven locations for demonstration-cum-experimentation at Shalimar, Shuhama, Wadura, Pombai, Gurez, Leh and Kargil, besides four demonstrations at farmers field; identified high yielding drought tolerant maize and Rajmash which shows constantly superior performance for moisture stress and root architecture; introduced new and promising varieties of Apple, Pear, Cherry, Plum, Nectarines, Walnut; established high density demonstration blocks in apple, grapes and kiwi fruit at different locations; standardized technologies for organic strawberry production; technology developed for rooting in kiwi fruit cuttings; initiated new project entitled “Integrated Bee Development Centre funded by National Bee Board, Govt of india ; popularization of Local Kashmiri chilli and temperate spices for Livelihood Security; diversification of Sericulture in new areas of Kargil, Ladakh – successfully introduced silkworm rearing in Poyen village at Kargil Ladakh and obtained 60 and 62 kg quality cocoons per 100 DFLs at par with valley.
Following the directions in the last meeting of the Council to highlight success stories of the farmers, VC informed that the University has documented success stories of the progressive farmers with the assistance of Door Darshan Kendra and these were being telecast from Krishi Darshan and local Channels and, besides, documentaries on agriculture related topics have been prepared and are being distributed to stake holders. He informed that the University, through its KVKs, has identified the best farmers in all spheres of agricultural activity who will be felicitated with Krishi Awards.
He highlighted success stories of farmers like Sh. Mohammad Mussa of Panikhar Kargil and Syed Abdullah Shah of Drass, both of whom were rearing Pashmina Goats in the non-traditional belt; Sh. Asrullah Habib of Argam, Bandipore who is doing Layer Farming under free range system; and Miss Shakeela Malik of Shuhama who was given Farmer Lead Extension Award for Table Top Paddle Operated Charkha.
VC stated that the University has identified a new male clone of the Poplar tree which is almost similar but does not produce cotton and its large scale multiplication is under progress for popularization among the farmers; three species of temperate bamboos were successfully raised at Benhama Ganderbal; the University has resolved and documented, for the first time, the Phylogenetic Status and Taxonomic relationship of Kashmir Red Deer or Hangul. This work was internationally acknowledged at the IUCN level as it documents, for the first time, the genetic variation of the Indian population of the Tibetan antelope or Chiru, the extent of migration and its relationships with other populations in China.
The University is also releasing posters, pamphlets on spray schedules, package of practices for crops, vegetables, fruits & other required publications from time to time besides the publication of half-yearly Urdu Journal -Zarai Paigam.
VC stated that work has been initiated for introducing wide spread cultivation of Olive plants in various ecological zones, mega programme for Strawberry cultivation particularly at Gasoo village of Hazratbal in Srinagar district and some villages of Pulwama district. The university has also integrated the concept and management aspects of High Density Orchard System in the relevant course of Fruit Science.
Among those who attended the meeting were Prof. C.D. Mayee, President South Asia Biotechnology Centre, New Delhi; Narendra Singh Rathore, Dy. Director General (Edu), ICAR; Promod Kumar Jain, Financial Commissioner, Agriculture Production Department, all Members of the Council; Umang Narula, Principal Secretary to the Governor; Dr. Pradeep Kumar Sharma, Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-Jammu; Navin Kumar Choudhary, Commissioner Finance, A.K. Gandotra, Director Planning & Development, and Prof. M.H. Wani, Registrar, SKUAST- K.