Srinagar: In 1982, the year Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology (SKUAST) was established, it had few buildings, some dozen students on its rolls, and figured at the bottom list of agriculture universities in India. Today, nearly forty years later, the university has been ranked as the sixth best state agriculture university in India, leaving behind 59 other, much older, agriculture universities.
The Education Division of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi, on Agricultural Education Day, which is observed on December 3 every year, announced this ranking of SKUAST. The varsity has scored better than 59 others in terms of research, teaching, extension and academics.
Today, the university offers courses in seven faculties, which include agriculture, fisheries, veterinary sciences, horticulture, agriculture engineering, and forestry. Hundreds of students are on its rolls, their research having proven to be the backbone for Kashmir’s agriculture economy. The latest is its contribution to help maximise the production of saffron through indoor means of production. It has yielded good results, and in future could be instrumental in luring people to cultivate the spice at larger scale. Otherwise, low returns have caused about 15,000 farmers to give up saffron cultivation, and convert about 1,500 hectares of saffron land into commercial, residential purposes, over the last three decades in Kashmir.
Syed Waseem, Joint Director of the Agriculture Department, told Kashmir Reader that the state of agriculture in Kashmir today is because of the efforts of SKUAST.
The university earlier was ranked 24th in 2018, 9th in 2019, and now 6th in 2020.
Prof J.P. Sharma, Vice-Chancellor, praised the entire university workforce for making this possible with their earnest, clear and professional attitude.
“The university has emerged as one of the leading agriculture universities in the country,” Prof Sharma said, adding that the university has still a long way to go and continue its efforts to improve the ranking further.
The SKUAST-K Scientists and Teachers Association (SSTA) congratulated the entire SKUAST-Kashmir family for their painstaking effort that has resulted in the enhancement of ranking of SKUAST-K among State Agriculture Universities (SAU) to position 6th (Sixth).
“This recognition will foster more growth and work which will translate into welfare for various stakeholders in Agriculture and Allied Sectors. The improvement in ranking assumes further significance as SKUAST-K was ranked 24th in 2018 and has reached 6th place in 2020. This is a proof of the tremendous work done by the university despite all odds that has stood the test of time and has paved the way for this recognition which is a triumph of the spirit of the SKUAST family,” the varsity said in a statement.