LG inaugurates Innovative Farmers Conference

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha today called for replicating the success stories of innovative and progressive farmers from across the country in Jammu and Kashmir through transmission of ideas and knowledge sharing for transforming agriculture & allied sectors, and for realizing the goal of doubling farmers’ income.

He was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of a 2-day long Innovative Farmers Conference on “Farmer Led Innovations for Enhancing Farm Income” here at SKUAST Jammu organized to harness first-hand experiences of innovative farmers.

On the occasion, the Lt Governor felicitated five Padma Shri awardee farmers viz  Bharat Bhushan Tyagi, Kanwal Singh Chouhan, Sultan Singh, Ram Sharan Verma and Chander Shekhar Singh, and other innovative farmers including Major Manmohan Singh Virka, Gurpreet Singh Shergill, Krishan Yadav, Pooja Sharma, Hariman Sharma and Yogendra Kaushik.

The Lt Governor termed the innovative farmers as key change-makers in agricultural development and a motivating force for the whole farming community. He also urged them to disseminate their technical know-how for further emulation by farmers to multiply their income.

More than 100 prominent progressive farmers from J&K, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh are participating in the conference.

Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor underscored the significance of promoting best practices, sharing of innovative ideas and experiences among farmers. He said that the Conference would provide an exclusive platform to farmers to exchange ideas and gain new knowledge in farming.

“Impetus should be given to information sharing, research and extension programs by Universities for meeting the expectations of farmers and preparing them to overcome modern-day challenges like Global warming”, he added.

The Lt Governor observed that the seamless transfer of technology from universities to farmers is imperative for introducing the farmers with innovative ways of farming.

For providing a substantial increase in farmers’ income, the Lt Governor called for developing strategies and credible mechanisms for upscaling of farmers-led innovations and further strengthening the spirit of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat and making J&K AatmaNirbhar in agriculture sector.

The Lt Governor also suggested a host of measures for achieving faster growth in the agriculture sector along-with providing sustainable income and livelihood to farmers.

The Lt Governor said that there are about 8000 species of medicinal and aromatic plants available in India but only 10 per cent of them are being utilized. He urged the scientific community to make dedicated efforts for exploiting the full potential of unutilized plant species.

He suggested for creating Umbrella Groups for selling local and small scale products, besides holding brainstorming sessions on the innovations happening in various categories of start-ups in agriculture such as agro-processing, artificial intelligence, digital agriculture, agricultural mechanization, waste to wealth, dairy, fisheries, and other entrepreneurship programs.

He also urged the farming community to utilize latest social media sources for updating their knowledge about agriculture and allied sectors.

The Lt Governor stressed on developing new and improved crop varieties which can withstand changing climatic stress conditions, besides adopting need based, location-specific and field tested innovations.

He also advocated for sustainable organic farming and cultivation of traditional crops, besides initiating entrepreneurial and vocational courses in the University for creating more start ups in agriculture and allied sectors. He further asked the scientists to take up research projects in latest technological interventions such as application of artificial intelligence in agriculture, climate smart agriculture, vertical farming etc.

The Lt Governor appreciated SKUAST-Jammu for organizing such innovative events and emphasized for speedy dissemination of technological interventions from labs to fields.

Speaking on the occasion, Farooq Khan, Advisor to the Lt Governor, called upon the farmers of J&K and the students of SKUAST to take full advantage of the experiences and knowledge of the innovative farmers participating in the Conference. He stressed on the need to impart practical knowledge to the students so that they could connect themselves with the various aspects of agriculture and develop themselves from ’Job Seekers’ to ‘Job Providers’.

Navin Kumar Choudhary, Principal Secretary, Department of Agriculture Production & Farmers’ welfare and Horticulture also spoke on the occasion. He stressed upon adoption of integrated farming system and mechanized farming by the farmers for realizing the goals of doubling farmers’ income. He emphasized for achieving self-sufficiency in livestock based products by rejuvenating dairy and poultry industries.

He informed that, with the intervention of the Lt Governor, free thresher is being provided in every panchayat of the Union Territory, besides Road Tax on Tractors up to 3000 CC capacity has also been exempted.

In his welcome address, Prof. J.P. Sharma, Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-Jammu, and Chief Patron of the Conference highlighted the achievements of the innovative farmers. He said that the conference is aimed at providing a vast opportunity to farmers enabling them to know the technical feedback of innovations for their horizontal expansion in similar resource situations. The innovative farmers would be an effective and reliable source of information and inputs for other farmers in the vicinity, he added. He also expressed gratitude towards the Lt Governor for making several interventions for the advancement and development of the University.

Bharat Bhushan Tyagi, Padma Shri Awardee also shared his experiences in the field of organic farming. He said that the University must take a lead in organic farming and disseminate knowledge to the farmers about the same.

Meanwhile, publications on success stories of innovative farmers and other farming-related information in local languages were released by the dignitaries on the occasion.

Earlier, the Lt Governor laid foundation stones for a Sports facility and Community Park in the University campus and inspected exhibitions and stalls demonstrated by the innovative farmers. He also planted a tree sapling in the premises of the University.

Pertinently, the two-day long conference comprised of four technical sessions and during each session, innovative farmers will share their experiences and achievements.

Manoj Dhar, Vice Chancellor, University of Jammu; Prof. Ashok Aima, Vice Chancellor, Central University Jammu; Prof. (Dr.) Ravindra Kumar Sinha, Vice Chancellor, SMVDU; Prof. Bechan Lal, Vice Chancellor, Cluster University of Jammu; Sanjeev Verma, Divisional Commissioner Jammu; Dr. D Srinivasa Reddy, Director CSIR-IIIM Jammu; HoDs of various concerned departments; faculty members of SKUAST-J, besides scores of farmers were present on the occasion.