Bandh for making agriculture more sustainable, progressive

Bandh for making agriculture more sustainable, progressive
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‘Operation Green’ to increase production of tomato, onion, potatoes

SRINAGAR: Making agriculture a more sustainable and progressive enterprise, Minister for Agriculture Muhammad Khalil Bandh on Wednesday directed officers to develop strategies for market-driven agriculture.

He was speaking during a high-level meeting of officials of agriculture and allied departments here.

The meeting was attended by Commissioner Secretary Agriculture Production Department, Mehrajudin Khan, Director Agriculture Kashmir, Syed Altaf Ajaz Andrabi, Managing Director Agro Industries, Rakesh Khajuria, Director Command area Kashmir, Sanaullah Mir, Director Command area Jammu Jatinder Singh, Joint Director State Land Use Board, Bulesh Zutshi.

Saying “agro industries department should strengthen marketing of its products”, the minister asked the officials to “expedite the process of modernising cold storage facility with a capacity of 4000 metric tonnes with an estimated cost of Rs 17 crore at New Delhi”, an official release read.

He also asked for strengthening seed test labs/quality control labs and soil testing labs at all the places.

To promote apiculture in the state, the minister also directed for setting up centres for processing honey, beekeeping in all district of the state which will be funded by World Bank. He said “these centres will also provide beneficiaries access to infrastructure, training, collection, processing and marketing network”, it read.

While emphasising on the need to project Kashmir as a fresh brand across India, the minister asked the officials to buy refrigerator trucks for carrying produce from state to different Indian markets for better returns to the farmers.

Highlighting the potential of the vegetable based economy in the state, Bandh asked officials to “start working for ‘Operation Green’ in the state for the increase in the production of tomato, onion and potatoes.

Director, agro industries informed the minister that department is mulling to set up three petrol pumps in Khunmoh, Lal Mandi, Bijbehera. The agriculture machinery will also be sold there.

Taking the review of demonstration centres of agriculture department particularly at Padgampura in Kashmir and Chinor in Jammu, the minister asked the department to come out with a detailed report of last ten years of the produce of these departmental farms.

He also took stock of various measures being taken to rejuvenate the saffron cultivation through National Saffron Mission and directed for early setting up sprinkle system and digging of bore wells. He also issued strict instructions to the field functionaries of the agriculture department for safeguarding the saffron land.