Advocating for reaching out to the farmers and taking the technological innovations and research to the field the Minister for Agriculture, Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura today said that it is vital that the farmers are kept well abreast with the advancements in the agriculture sector to enhance production.
The Minister was speaking after launching e-plant clinics during a workshop organized by Department of Agriculture in collaboration with Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI), South Asia in Jammu.
About 15 plant clinics have been established by CABI in district Samba, Kathua and Jammu during 2016 which are providing guidance to the farmers. Under Plantwise Programme of CABI, 22 officials have been trained as plant doctors who will work to diagnose various plant diseases in Jammu region and upload the data on Plantwise Online Management System (POMS) which can be assessed by worldwide experts.
Stressing that plant diseases cause great damage to the crops, the Minister said establishment of these clinics will go a long way in protecting crops from diseases, thereby, increasing the productivity and income of farmers. He stressed that more such clinics should be established in all parts of the state with special focus on the far flung areas of Valley and Ladakh, so that the farmers can avail the benefit.
He called upon the trained plant doctors to conduct awareness programmes at village level to educate the farmers about various plant diseases along with the measures for keeping their crops safe against various diseases.
The Minister further asked CABI experts to collaborate with Agriculture Department and SKUAST-J for finding solution to the menace of locusts (migratory grasshoppers) responsible for causing damage to the crops in Zanaskar valley in Kargil.
Meanwhile, Director, Extension SKUAST-J, Dr. K.S Risam said the establishment of these clinics will also help in achieving the goal of ‘Doubling Famers Income by 2022’.
He further said that the contact number of plant doctors should also be displayed in plant clinics so that the farmers can contact them in the need of the hour.
Earlier, Director, Agriculture Jammu, Ashok Kumar Malhotra apprised about the functioning of these clinics and the help they are rendering to the farmers. He said that the Plantwise programme aims at strengthening plant health system by establishing and supporting sustainable networks of plant clinics for providing plant health advice to the progressive farmers
Director, Law Enforcement, J&K Sushil Sahni, Scientist & Plantwise Coordinator, CABI South Asia, Dr. Vinod Pandit, Associate Professor, SKUAST-J, Dr. R K Gupta, Agriculture Extension Officer, Pradeep Sharma and other senior officers of the department were present in the workshop.