Expert team from the bank on two-day visits to university to understand its commendable resistance, innovative programs
Srinagar: An expert team from the World Bank Friday interacted with the faculty, students and officers of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir with an aim to study the university’s institutional development plan as a case study for the successful implementation and as a model project of its flagship National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP) in India.
The two-member team of the World Bank, including Bekzod Shamsiev, Senior Agriculture Economist, World Bank Task Team Leader, and Arvind Jhamb, World Bank Consultant, is on a two-day visit to SKUAST-K to review the progress of university activities under World Bank-ICAR funded NAHEP. The team also aims to explore future collaboration with the university in developing horticulture and other agri-business sectors in Jammu and Kashmir.
Bekzod Shamsiev, during his interaction with the university faculty and staff, said the IDP-NAHEP at SKUAST-K is the best example of result-oriented performance in the country despite having faced many challenges.
“We have suggested to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research to make this university one of the case studies to supplement the project completion implementation report so we can present it as one of the three or four best-performing examples of the project,” Shamsiev said, adding, SKUAST-K has been earmarked for this purpose due to its innovative programs, commendable resilience and innovations during the challenging COVID times.
SKUAST-K was awarded a grant of Rs 29.26 crore for its institutional development under the World Bank-funded National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP) in August 2019. The project aimed to bring reforms in agricultural education for improving infrastructure, enhancing skills and competence of faculty and students, inspiring students for creativity and innovation and making them more skilful for improved employability and entrepreneurship.
Talking about future opportunities, Shamsiev said, “We are keen to discuss areas that align with the interests of SKUAST, including horticulture sector development, agri-environment policy evaluation, and farm gross margin analysis. I believe this is an opportune moment for the World Bank team to share experiences from our end.”
After listening about the One Health Programme of the University, he said the silent pandemic is a big part of the World Bank program, and being a priority area, the Bank is always looking for champions in this particular field. Therefore, he would like to connect SKUAST-K to its relevant sections in the Bank for exploring the joint projects in ‘One Health’.
Arvind Jhamb, in his interaction, said there is a need for new innovation-based startups that can provide solutions to various farming problems. He said the number of startups the university has been able to launch in the last three years has no match out there. The number of grants and awards received in entrepreneurship and research makes it clear how much the university has benefited from the NAHEP and is now making bigger strides towards internationalization.
Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-K, Prof Nazir Ahmad Ganai, thanked the World Bank and ICAR for providing the opportunity to SKUAST-K to prove its potential.
“I don’t have words to thank the ICAR and the World Bank for supporting this university under NAHEP to develop its institutional development plan, which paved the way for bigger reforms that are now yielding the fruits,” he said.
OSD to Vice Chancellor, Prof Azmat Alam Khan, gave a detailed overview of the IDP NAHEP of SKUAST-K and its achievements over the years. Prof Parvaze Sofi of the Faculty of Agriculture conducted the proceedings of the interactive session.
Later on, a brainstorming session on horticulture development was held to explore possibilities of developing projects for technology-aided horticulture projects with the support of the World Bank. The session, led by Dean Horticulture, SKUAST-K, Dr Shabir Ahmad Wani, was also attended by the Director, Horticulture, Kashmir; Director, Centre for Temperate Horticulture, Srinagar; agripreneurs, farmers and faculty members of the Faculty of Horticulture. The World Bank team also visited the School of Horticulture Business Management.
On the second day of the visit, the World Bank expert team will conduct a field visit of some SKUAST-K faculties and research stations on Saturday.