JAMMU: Agricultural output and productivity tend to contribute substantially to overall economic development and it would be appropriate to place greater emphasis on further development of the agricultural sector, Minister for Agriculture Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura stated on Friday. He was speaking at the inaugural function of two-day long international conference on the theme “Economic Growth and Structural Changes: Trend, Pattern and Policies” organised by School of Economics, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University (SMVDU), Katra in collaboration with the Indian Economics Association here, read an official handout. The minister highlighted the role of agriculture sector in the state as well as in the Indian economy. He spoke in length about several issues including agricultural land shrinkage and farmer suicides in India. The minister also highlighted the government’s vision of doubling the farmers’ income by 2022. He urged the scientists/researchers working in the field of agriculture to reach out to the farmers with the technological innovations and research work to the fields to enhance their production, the handout read. Emphasising that focus should shift to agricultural models that increase farmers’ income, the minister said “this can only be brought about by improving productivity, lowering costs, enhancing efficiency, providing market access to farmers, making them producers of products rather than commodities”. He said the government had taken a number of initiatives for development of agriculture and allied sectors with focused strategy to increase production, productivity of crops and to enable farmers to take advantage of market opportunities. “For the growth of agriculture and to cover risk of farmers from climate adversities, the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana has also been started in the state this year,” the minister informed. He said that the government would establish cold chain infrastructure to boost production in agriculture and allied sectors “to tap the demand at national level at the appropriate time”.