Refrigerated vans handed over to farmers of Jammu Division

Navin stresses on plantation of high-quality fruit plants

JAMMU: To facilitate the farmers of Jammu Division, Principal Secretary, Agriculture Production Department, Navin Kumar Choudhary today handed over four refrigerated vans of 9 MTs capacity each to the Chief Agriculture Officers of Jammu, Kathua, Doda and Udhampur Districts at Krishi Bhawan, Talab Tillo, Jammu.
Speaking on the occasion, Principal Secretary said that this initiative was taken up by the Agriculture Production Department to safeguard the interest of farming community in which provision of four Refrigerated Vans was kept under Capital Expenditure. These Refrigerated vans will be utilized to carry the perishable agricultural produce of the farmers to markets / mandies adding that soon a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in this regard will be signed with FPOs/ FIGs/CIGs under PPP Mode.
It was apprised that maintaining the ideal temperature is a major factor in protecting the perishable produce against quality loss during transportation and storage. These vehicles are fixed with insulated body equipped with active refrigeration designed for environment controlled carriage of products. The objective of these vans is to maintain quality and prolong the shelf life of the perishable agricultural produce by keeping the temperature at a point where metabolic rate is minimum.
Director Agriculture, Inder Jeet informed that area under vegetables is expanding in non-traditional areas and there is surging demand of fresh vegetables throughout the year which offers opportunities for the farmers to market their produce and get enhanced income. These Refrigerated Vans will facilitate the distant marketing of vegetables and other agriculture products without deterioration of their quality.
Director Animal Husbandry, Vivek Sharma, Managing Director, J&K Agro Industries Development Corporation, Bhawani Rakwal, Director CAD, Smita Sethi, Director Agriculture, Jammu, Inder Jeet, Director Horticulture, Ram Sevak, Joint Director Agriculture (Inputs), Anil Nargotra, Joint Director Agriculture (Extension), Daisy Bhan, Deputy Director (Central), K. K. Sharma and Chief Agriculture Officers, Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur, Doda were present on the occasion besides other senior officers.
Meanwhile, Principal Secretary also had a review meeting with the Heads of Agriculture and Allied Departments to take stock of current farming issues including procurement of wheat, functioning of Seasonal mandies, arrival of combine harvesters in UT for facilitation of harvesting operations etc.
During the meeting, the Principal Secretary stressed upon the concerned officers of Agriculture and allied departments to work with coordination and added zeal for the all-round development of Agriculture sector. He also asked them to redouble their efforts for welfare of farming community which would ultimately help achieve the target of doubling farmer’s income.
To save the fruit and vegetable farmers from exploitation at the hands of the traders and middlemen, Principal Secretary asked the concerned officers to identify suitable land for establishment of Farmers’ Market in Jammu adding that such market will bring “least handled and farm fresh vegetables” directly to consumer. This initiative would also bridge the gap between consumer and the farmer, hence cutting the middlemen and intermediaries.
Navin Kumar said Horticulture has been a major contributor to the economy of the farmers as well as the UT due to the diverse climatic conditions and topography. To promote horticulture crops across the region, he directed Horticulture Department to cultivate wide varieties of fruits keeping in view the agro-climatic conditions of the area. He stressed for doubling the plantation of fruit trees in the current season.
He asked the department to focus on use of best practices and latest technologies in improving quality and yield of fruits.
Navin also directed the concerned officers to plant the fruit trees in premises of Agriculture Department and Kisan Ghar.
On the occasion, Progressive farmers also interacted with the Principal Secretary and gave their suggestions for various interventions that will redress the concerns of the farming community including requirement of Paddy transplanter machines in wake of likely shortage of labour during coming kharif season due to COVID-19 lock down, requirement of more combine harvesters and many others.
Responding to the concerns and issues raised by farmers, the Principal Secretary assured them that all their genuine demands would be redressed at the earliest.
Meanwhile, the Principal Secretary visited the newly constructed building of Kisan Kendra at Talab Tillo and took stock of facilities there.
He also inspected Agri Mall, managed by JK Agro Industries Development Corporation and asked to strengthen the marketing of its products. He also gave necessary instruction to the MD for smooth functioning of Agro Industry. Later, Navin Kumar Choudhary visited the office complexes of Animal husbandry, Horticulture and Command area Development Department.

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