Srinagar: The third meeting of the UT-level Apex Committee on Export Promotion Policy for agriculture commodities of Jammu and Kashmir concluded Tuesday at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir, Shalimar campus.
The two-day meeting of the Apex Committee and Technical Working Groups was chaired by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) National Rainfed Area Authority, Prof Ashok Dalwai. Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture Production Department (APD), Atal Dulloo, Vice Chancellor SKUAST-K, Prof Nazir A Ganai, Horticulture Commissioner, Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, GoI, Dr Prabhat Kumar, Former Vice Chancellor SKUAST-J, Dr JP Sharma, Former Director, IARI, Dr HS Gupta, and Deputy General Manager, APEDA Vinita Sudanshu, besides Deans, Directors of SKUAST-K, Directors of Line Departments, Chairmen Technical Working Groups and other officers of APD, participated in the meeting. Some of the Apex Committee members participated virtually in the meeting.
During the two day marathon meeting, the experts deliberated on the J&K first Export-Import Policy and a host of the strategic and operational interventions that can make J & K as net exporter of agricultural commodities through Policy Support & Global Value Chain Integration. Given the distinctive advantage of niche agriculture produces and products of J & K, the committee felt a strong need for market orientation for building robust domestic & global value chains that can connect farm gates with demand centres in both national and global markets. Market orientation entails realizing higher volumes of production that can yield marketable surpluses.
The proposed policy aims at increasing agricultural exports from Rs 190 crore in 2022-23 to Rs 1500 crore by 2029-30 on one hand, and import substitution of range of agriculture produces and products for which J & K has a distinct advantage and thereby contribute to the nation’s trade balance on another hand. This the experts say, can be achieved through capitalization of the inherent advantages of the Union Territory; Enhancement of competing abilities by addressing the challenges & shortcomings that now exist; Diversifying the export basket and increasing high value and value-added agricultural exports; Promotion of “Brand JK” for its uniqueness and quality, and target GI Products of JK for export; Ensuring food safety, quality and harmonization with the standards applicable in the various destination markets; Fostering trade partnerships and Focusing on training and capacity building of the farmers for Good Agricultural Practices, Youth for export oriented agri-preunership
The committee also discussed some of the important operational interventions like establishing a nodal export promotion agency for market intelligence; export oriented incubation center; a dedicated industrial estate park for Agri-Startups; cluster based approach to promote exports; developing sea protocols for apple; dry ports with all logistics; and an globally accredited certification agency.
Chairman of the meeting, Dr Ashok Dalwai took an exhaustive review of the draft export policy, and emphasized for a policy that shall shape the bioeconomy in the region through circular economy and secondary and commercial agriculture. Dr Dalwai deliberated in detail on the operational guidelines of the different commodities like apple, cherry, walnut, honey, vegetables, saffron, basmati, lavender, lemon grass, forest-based products, wool, bivoltine silk, and pulses. He emphasized on the fact that sustaining the agri exports, demands the scaling up of the production, educating farmers about good agricultural practices, identifying the potential markets nationally and globally where JKs products have a distinctive advantage, certifications to meet the quality standards of the importing countries. He also advised for inclusion of the non-food products in the policy and create efforts to shift from a linear economy to the circular one.
Shri Atal Dulloo ACS, informed the committee members that this policy would be an extension of the Holistic Agriculture Development Program being rolled out in J & K at a cost of Rs 5000 crores. He emphasized that need for increasing the scale of production, diversifying for new crops and varieties, quality certification of the products, track and traceability system, efficient logistics, processing, and proper packaging, branding and marketing so that J&K could emerge as a global export hub for its niche agri and allied products.
While summing up the proceedings of the meeting of the Apex Committee, Prof Ganai put forth the vision behind the formation of the Export Promotion Policy and how it is going to change the growth trajectory of the UT, besides transforming subsistence agriculture into a sustainable high-income vocation for the farming community and the youth as the future agripreneurs.
At the beginning of the meeting, Prof SH Baba and Dr FA Shaheen presented detailed presentations, ‘Looking beyond HADP outcomes: Lessons for export policy’ and ‘Ushering New Horizons: Incubation, Innovation and startups’.