J&K Advisory Board for Development of Kisans discusses impact of Covid -19 lockdown on Agri- allied sectors

SRinagar: To assess the impact of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions on Agriculture, Horticulture, Diary Sector, Fish farming, Floriculture and other farmer related activities, the J&K Advisory Board for Development of Kisans in consultation with the Directorate of Horticulture Kashmir organized a meeting with the Board Members of Kashmir Division on Thursday at Horticulture Complex Rajbagh, Srinagar.
At the outset of this meeting, Abdul Hamid Wani Secretary J&K Advisory Board for Development of Kisans welcomed the participants and gave the brief introduction about the importance of Board.
He then briefed the Board Members about the purpose of convening of such meetings which was chaired by Aijaz Ahmad Bhat the Director General Horticulture Department Kashmir in presence of Director Agriculture & Farmers welfare Department Kashmir, Director Animal Husbandry Kashmir, Director Fisheries Department J&K, Srinagar, Er. Shafat Sultan MD JKHPMC and in presence of SE Irrigation Department Kashmir. .
While interacting with the Board Members, Aijaz Ahmad Bhat Director General Horticulture Department Kashmir stated that the J&K government aspires to see the farmers of this UT prosperous and self-reliant as the Farmers are the main contributors in the GDP of the J&K-UT.
He informed that the government of Jammu and Kashmir is very serious in addressing the Covid-19 lockdown implications on Agriculture, Horticulture, Diary Sector, Fish farming, Floriculture and other farmer related activities, and Government always aspires for doubling the income of farmers as dreamt by the whole Nation. He informed that, after realizing the problems caused by the Covid19 Pandemic restrictions on the growth of our farmers, the Government of Jammu & Kashmir immediately geared up both the Department of Agriculture Kashmir , JKHPMC & Department of Horticulture and started a marketing campaign for vegetables and fruits, and many refrigeration vans have been pressed in to service in the market carrying the fresh vegetables and fruits of our esteemed growers directly to the end users , with a purpose to help our growers /sellers to fetch them remunerative prices, and this arrangement made by the Government also acted as a deterrent for the middlemen.
During this meeting other issues like import of Dry fodder, Silage and cattle feed from Punjab and Haryana, which has a direct impact on the rates of milk, was discussed. The Board members suggested that in house production and promotionof fodder and feed is the only solution which will not only boost the economy of J&K, but the farmer’s income can be enhanced. Hence there is a need to motivate and encourage the local unemployed youth for starting feed & Fodder manufacturing units here also. The concerned officers of the Department of Animal Husbandry Kashmir were seen optimist in addressing this issue ,who assured that very soon such manufacturing units will come up in this UT also which will solve the deficit of fodder & feed.
It was told that the milk rates got affected and the milk producers in the valley suffered losses during these lockdowns due to the monopoly of two companies namely JKMPCL (Amul India) and Khyber Agro farms while as in Jammu Division there are five companies namely (Surya, Virka, Nestle, Mother Diary and Modern Diary) in the market. Hence the Department of Animal husbandry Kashmir shall invite more buyers/companies here also in the valley which will ensure a competitive environment to benefit milk producers.
It was informed that the Department of Animal Husbandry is in a process to promote and encourage the good quality HF and also Jersey cattle breed locally for which the Bulls have been already imported from the Germany. With the introduction of this new improved breed will not only help our farmers but will boost the economy of this Union Territory also.
Since on the onset of paddy cultivation in the Valley, the preparedness of Irrigation & Flood Control department was taken. Naseer Ahmad Kakroo, SE concerned Department has informed that De-slitting of main Canals, distributaries and minors is being undertaken as per the pre-planned arrangements by the Irrigation Department Kashmir and our efforts are always to streamline the present system of network of canals to reduce the time gap in releasing the water after completion of planned repairs, clearing field channels. The Panchayats and DDCs/BDCs which are already in place in the JK are also involved to oversee the ground working of the irrigation.
Choudhary Mohammad Iqbal, Director Agriculture Department Kashmir emphasized on organizing of Awareness programmes in rural areas at the vulnerable locations in coordination with Irrigation department Kashmir to educate and advice people / farmers for judicious use of water and proper look after of the canals. The thrust of these programmes shall be to motivate people not to pollute the canals and not to dump unwanted waste material in these canals. He said that the local schools can also be involved in this programme.
While hailing the timely action of the Government in rowing in JKHPMC, Directorate of Agriculture Kashmir and Directorate General of Horticulture Kashmir during these Covid-19 lockdowns, who jointly devised a marketing mechanism for the vegetables & Fruits which had been very helpful to the farmers, Er. Shafat Sultan MD JKHPMC said that the same synergy is being devised for Milk produce, Flower cuttings/plants and other crops also.

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