Jammu, Jul 14 (PTI) J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Wednesday initiated the first-ever massive high-density plantation drive by planting saplings in the Jammu division, and said the Union territory aspires to be a leading region in the country's agriculture and horticulture production.
Sinha virtually laid the foundation stone of high-density mega plant-nursery; and launched 'Jammu Horticulture' mobile app and market linkage scheme 'Parvaz' for farmers.
Continuing the government's endeavours to realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi's goal of doubling the farmers' income by 2022, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha launched the Horticulture Week by planting saplings at Akhnoor on Wednesday.
'J&K aspires to be a leading region in agriculture and horticulture production in the country,' he said.
The lieutenant governor observed that the government has set an unprecedented target of planting 25 lakh high-density plants this year as compared to 49,000 in 2019, which is a new record in the history of horticulture of the Jammu division.
In addition to this, 1.20 crore plants of aloe vera and 42 lakh plants of strawberry shall also be planted, besides 67,500 plants of olive in Ramban and Doda districts covering around 270 hactares this year.
He also laid the e-foundation stone for a 100-acre mega high density plantation Nursery coming up at Chakroi, R S Pura, besides launching the 'Jammu horticulture mobile app' and 'Parvaz', a market linkage scheme for the benefit of farmers.
Speaking on the occasion, Sinha outlined various initiatives undertaken by the government to facilitate the farming community and extending handholding to the farmers through different government schemes with a prime objective of increasing their income so that they can lead a prosperous life.
'Horticulture has now become the backbone of the economy of Jammu and Kashmir.
'From the state-of-the-art machinery to new plants, water supply resources for farming, training, expansion of the area of high-density plantation, many innovative measures have been taken in the past one year, and many more are in the pipeline for the future deliverables aiming at growth of the farming sector,' he added.
Laying special emphasis on promoting best practices in the horticulture sector, the lieutenant governor observed that a significant improvement has been registered in farm productivity and production quality in the last 11 months, due to the exchange of knowledge and ideas in the said sector.
He expressed satisfaction over the strides made in agriculture and horticulture to fulfill the prime minister's goal of doubling the income of farmers by 2022. In many areas of the Jammu division, the farmers have already accomplished this goal ahead of time with their hard work, he added.
Speaking on J&K being among the top-5 performers in the country in the 'One District-One Product' campaign, Sinha credited the farmers of the UT and officials of the departments concerned for this achievement.
Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, 'our farmers have done a wonderful job and many youths who were hesitant to foray into the sector are now doing different types of organic farming and have set an example for others by their hard work', he said.
Even in these difficult times, there was no shortage of vegetables, fruits and milk, and the gap between cities and villages has also reduced, Sinha said.
Stressing the need to acquaint farmers with all the relevant information and the latest farming techniques, Sinha observed that the central government through its 64 schemes in the field of horticulture is providing subsidies up to 50-100 per cent to the farmers in different components.
The department's officials have been constantly reaching out to the farmers and making them aware of the benefits of these schemes, he added.
Underlining the importance of putting more focus on branding and marketing, the lieutenant governor called for making modern farming practices an integral part of the farming sector to bring stability in the horticulture sector and work according to the latest market trends.
'This will also benefit the farmers and the local population by generating employment in the food products manufactured by the rural entrepreneurs. Through branding and marketing, we will also be able to contribute to self-reliant India campaign,' he added.
Sinha advised the farmers and all those associated with the farming sector to do new experiments in agriculture and pay attention to diversification. He also assured the support of the administration in their endeavours. 'There will be no shortage of resources or guidance for the farming community,' he added.
He advised the farmers to pay attention to online marketing trends to strengthen distribution chain.
Sinha also observed that the department has set a target of providing pre- and post-harvest facilities to the farmers and efforts are afoot to achieve the same. PTI AB HRS hrs