Principal Secretary, Agriculture Production Department, Navin K. Choudhary, today convened an officers meeting to ensure speedy preparation of proposals and projects under recently announced Pradhan Mantri Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Scheme.
It was informed that under the scheme, the Government of India has announced Rs.1 lakh crore financing facility for funding Agriculture Infrastructure Projects at farm-gate and aggregation points (Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies, Farmers Producers Organisations, Agriculture entrepreneurs, Start-ups, etc).
The Principal Secretary observed that lack of adequate cold chain and Post Harvest Management Infrastructure in the vicinity of farm-gate is causing gaps in value chains.
“While focus has been on short term crop loans, the investment in long term agriculture infrastructure has been neglected,” he added.
The Principal Secretary directed all HoDs to identify infrastructure requirements in terms of equipments, machinery, structure like cold chains, cold storages, transportation infrastructure etc. which could be covered under this scheme for funding.
Choudhary informed that following the vision of Prime Minister of India, “Vocal for Local with Global outreach”, the Government of India has also announced launch of Rs.10,000 crore scheme for formalization of Micro Food Enterprises (MFE) to help 2 Lakh MFEs. The goal is to provide technical upgradation to unorganized MFE units to attain FSSAI food standards, build brands and marketing, he added.
It was informed that under the scheme, the existing Micro Food Enterprises, Farmer Producer Organisations, Self Help Groups and Cooperatives are to be supported. The cluster based approach (e.g. Mango in UP, Kesar in J&K, Bamboo shoots in North-East, Chilli in Andhra Pradesh, Tapioca in Tamil Nadu etc.) will be given priority. The expected outcome is improved health and safety standard, integration with retail markets, improved income of farmers, reaching untapped export markets in view of improved health consciousness.
Accordingly, Principal Secretary directed that identification of various types of MFEs in Agriculture, Horticulture, Dairy and Poultry sectors to be covered with identified infrastructure support to make them achieve the goal under this scheme.
It was also decided that the Fisheries Department will support in removal of critical gaps in Fisheries value chain through private sector. Cage Culture, Seaweed farming, Ornamental Fisheries as well as new fishing vessels, traceability, laboratory network etc. will be key activities.
Choudhary directed Animal/Sheep Husbandry Department to immediately frame proposal to ensure 100% vaccination of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig population (total 53 crore animals) for Foot and Mouth Diseases (FMD) and for brucellosis. Animal Husbandry Department was also directed to get prepared proposals from private entrepreneurs to support private investment in Dairy Processing, value addition and cattle feed infrastructure.
The Principal Secretary directed the Agriculture Production Department to prepare scheme for infrastructure development related to Integrated beekeeping Development Centres, Collection, Marketing and Storage Centres, Post Harvest and value addition facilities etc.
Choudhary informed that under “TOP to TOTAL” scheme Operation Green has been extended to all Fruits and Vegetables. This is an extremely beneficial scheme launched by GoI for J&K. Under this scheme, 50% subsidy on transportation of Agri/Horti produce will be allowed. Similarly, 50% subsidy will be available for storage including cold storages. This will benefit the farmers as they would now find it attractive to keep their perishable produce in cold storages at half costs, he added.
The Principal Secretary asked the officers to get the scheme popularized and spread awareness about the same in the farmer’s community.
The meeting was attended by Ajaz Ahmad Bhat, Director Horticulture Kashmir, Ram Sevak, Director Horticulture Jammu, Inderjeet, Director Agriculture Jammu, Ajaz Altaf Andrabi, Director Agriculture Kashmir, Vivek Sharma, Director Animal Husbandry Jammu, Purnima Mittal, Director Animal Husbandry Kashmir, Imam Din, Director Horticulture (P&M), J&K, Dr Sanjeev Kumar, Director Sheep Husbandry, Jammu, Shafat Sultan, MD JKHPMC, Vijay Kumar Upadhaya Technical Officer, APD & other senior functionaries of the department. The Kashmir based officers attend the meeting through video conferencing.