Pampore: Secretary Director Financial Services Government of India Dr Vivek Joshi visited National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to promote Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) in Lethpora area of Pampore in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Sunday evening. The visit focused on enhancing collaboration with Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs) promoted by NABARD.
During the event, the Secretary Finance connected with FPO members, acquiring insights into their experiences and challenges. The Secretary showed a keen interest in understanding the intricacies of saffron production, recognizing its significance to the local economy.
The programme, organized by NABARD, provided a platform for Dr. Joshi to interact with various NABARD-promoted FPO including head Abdul Majeed Wani and Javaid Ahmad Ganaie, NABARD officials told Kashmir Reader.
B. Sridhar, Chief General Manager of NABARD, warmly welcomed Dr Joshi at the event. Notable attendees included Baldev Prakash, MD and CEO of J&K Bank, Jitender Asati, Director of DFS (GoI), and officials from the UT government, J&K Bank, and NABARD, Additional Deputy Commissioner Awantipora Zaffar Husson Shawl, Agriculture Extension officer Pulwama Shahnawaz Hussain, Tehsildar Pampore Zuber Ahmad Bhat, SDPO Awantipora Mumtaz Ali Bhatti and other officials, besides many progressive farmers.
During the engagement, Dr Joshi visited stalls set up by FPOs supported by NABARD, including Pampore Saffron FPO, Kandi Apple FPO, Kashmir Apple FPO, Shejaar Vegetable FPO, Sagam Mushqbudji Rice FPO, and Sehar Carpets OFPO.
The event highlighted the collaborative efforts between financial institutions, government bodies, and FPOs, fostering a conducive environment for sustainable agricultural practices in the region.
During the programme, a comprehensive review of the FPOs’ progress was conducted, highlighting achievements and identifying areas for improvement. The FPO members actively participated, putting forth their demands and concerns.
Secretary Finance assured the FPO members of the government’s commitment, pledging every possible support to address their needs.
Chief General Manager of NABARD, B. Sridhar, expressed optimism about the positive impact that targeted financial support could bring to the saffron producers. He underlined NABARD’s commitment to facilitating financial inclusion and sustainable agricultural practices in the region, Chairman of FPO Pampore, Abdul Majid Wani told Kashmir Reader.
Wani expressed gratitude to the Secretary for visiting his FPO and welcomed the assurance of support. Wani underscored the significance of such interactions in cultivating an environment conducive to the growth of saffron cultivation.
The visit concluded with a sense of optimism and a commitment to collaborative efforts aimed at enhancing the saffron industry in Kashmir. The Secretary’s assurance of support reflects the government’s dedication to promoting sustainable agriculture and economic development in the region.
Speaking to the media persons, Dr Vivek Joshi said, “I am pleased to see the commendable work being carried out by the FPOs here, with support from NABARD. The collaboration involves both farmer and non-farmer sectors, and interactions with them have conveyed that currently, around 150 farmers are actively engaged in their operations. While their work is commendable, I believe there is a need to focus on increasing turnover for these FPOs.”
“I hope in this regard, I have also brought the MD of J&K Bank along with me, and we are grateful for the support from J&K Bank and NABARD. After this, we are exploring additional funding avenues. Moreover, I have requested them to provide support for marketing initiatives under NABARD. Currently, they are working on aspects like obtaining GI tags, and establishing some support systems. However, we will also contemplate creating a common marketing channel that integrates all efforts for a more cohesive approach,” he added.
Dr Joshi said his purpose of coming here was to assess the functioning of J&K Bank and observe the work of NABARD. On Monday, in my meetings with the UT administration, we will discuss the details of my ‘Vishwa Karma’ which is under the Prime Minister’s Vishwa Karma scheme, he said, adding, that there are other crucial meetings scheduled for Monday that will remain significant.