Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti inaugurated the Indo-Dutch Demonstration cum Experimental High Density Orchard at SKUAST today.
She also visited the quality analysis labs and laid the foundation of a girls hostel on the campus.
The Chief Minister planted the sapling of an Apple tree to symbolically throw open the Demonstration Orchard on the campus.
Minister for Agriculture, Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura; Minister for Horticulture, Syed Basharat Bukhari and Secretary, Horticulture, M. H. Malik were present on the occasion.
Mehbooba Mufti went round the experimental field and interacted with the scientists. Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nazeer Ahmad explained the features of the Demonstration Orchard to the Chief Minister.
The Vice Chancellor informed the Chief Minister that 111 major and minor research projects are underway at the campus and 32 new projects worth Rs. 18.93 crore are being started. He said the university has released 12 new strains of high yielding varieties of rice, maize, wheat and other crops besides extending the cultivation of Mushkbudji to Budgam, Baramulla, Bandipora and Kupwara districts and rearing of Pashmina goat to Gurez and Sonamarg.
The Vice Chancellor said the university has completed the soil health and soil fertility mapping of the cultivable area in its catchment and is in the process of developing male clones of Poplars which won’t be having allergic pollen. Also, he said, his university is working for production of off season vegetables in the Valley and currently bi weekly weather advisories are issued to farmers.
Later, the Chief Minister, who is also the Pro Chancellor of the university, visited the Residue & Quality Analysis and Pesticide Residue Analysis labs of the university and witnessed the activities going on there.
Mehbooba Mufti asked the university administration to minimise the gap between labs and fields and share the research findings with the farmers regularly through more and more extension activities.
During the visit to the campus, the Chief Minister also laid foundation of a hostel block for girl students. The three storeyed building would be built at a cost of Rs. 5.30 crore and on completion is expected to house around 70 students.
The Chief Minister directed early completion of the hostel building for the convenience of the students and designing of building contours as per the local architectural pattern.
The Vice Chancellor informed the Chief Minister that works on five such hostels is apace across the campuses spread in Kashmir Valley.
Senior scientists, faculty members, officers, scholars and a large number of progressive farmers were present on the occasion.