The two days annual mega event at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir has been scheduled for March 04-05 this year. This 8th Technology Exhibition cum Seed Sale Mela will be celebrated with the theme ‘Subsistence to Sustainable Commercial Agriculture’.
SKUAST-K since its inception has been working towards the betterment of farming community of the region and has continuously engaged itself with different stakeholders with the ultimate aim of disseminating various technologies and interventions to the ultimate end users.
SKUAST-Kashmir does through its various outreach activities, FLDs and OFTs, hands on trainings, skill development initiatives, awareness and sensitisation programmes and a host of other farmer specific activities.
Different constituent units of SKUAST-Kashmir including KVKs spread over length and breadth of Jammu and Kashmir and also in Ladakh are regularly conducting Kisan Mela at district level every year for furthering the cause of farming community.
The annual Technology Exhibition cum Seed Sale Mela is a national level event witnessing the participation of farmers, students, youths, entrepreneurs, farm women, private players, input dealers, policy makers and planners different departments, institutions and agencies from all across the country.
With the SKUAST-K going global, participation from across the globe is also expected in the mela. All of them will be available for each other. The Mela will witness participation of thousands with the active collaboration of all its faculties, colleges, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, research institutes and all the constituent units of the University.
The Exhibition cum Seed Mela organized under the dynamic leadership of Hon’ble Vice Chancellor SKUAST-K Prof. Nazeer Ahmed Ganai and the guidance of Prof. Dil Mohammad Makhdoomi, Director Extension, SKUAST-K will be inaugurated by Sh. Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, Hon’ble Advisor to Governor Sh. Manoj Sinha. The Mela celebrated with the theme Subsistence to Sustainable Commercial Agriculture will focus on: Sustainable Agriculture.
Sustainable Agriculture: Sustainability today is the buzz word all across the globe. Our crude and unscientific practices have already adversely affected our environment. The focus is now on sustainable agriculture practices which do not degrade or pollute our natural resources and do not result in loss of bio diversity.
The two day event will specially focus on sustainable agricultural practices and approaches like Organic and Natural Farming. Natural Farming practices are in line with resource conservation and the present government headed by Sh. Narendra Modi is also stressing a lot on promotion and upscaling of natural farming practices all over the country.
Hon’ble Vice Chancellor of both the farm universities of Jammu and Kashmir has also stressed on promotion and mass scale adoption of natural farming practices.
This year the Technology Exhibition cum Seed Sale Mela will specially focus on technologies demonstrating the organic inputs like Bio fertilizers, Bio-control agents, bio organic nutrient management, organic waste treatment and natural farming inputs like Bijamrita, and Jeevamrita. All such interventions/inputs will be for sale as well as for demonstration purpose for the farming community of the region.
Sale of inputs/products: As the cropping season is to start in this region, farming community needs different kinds of inputs like hybrid and HYV of seeds, fertilisers, organic manures, plant protection chemicals, high quality planting material and farm implements. The mela will have all kinds of inputs and farm implements which can be purchased by all. Many input dealers and private agencies will be there displaying their products and inputs.
Empowered Champion Farmers: Champion Empowered Farmers will be another attraction of the two day event. Farmers of the region including farm women and youths who by dint of their hard work and intellect have proved themselves and to others that agriculture is still a remunerative enterprise. They will be there in the mela depicting and showcasing their innovative technologies and products.
Nutri-Cereals: Nutri-Cereals popularly known as Millets are a group of small grained food crops. These are highly nutritive, tolerant to drought and other extreme weather condition; do not require much input and most of them are natives of the country.
These are rightly being called as ‘Super Foods’ and ‘Food of Future’ that provide most of the nutrients required for normal functioning of human body. As the year 2023 is also being celebrated as International Year of Millets, the Mela comes with a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the nutritional and health benefits of these nutri-cereals.
In our country, there is very low percentage of value addition and processing. This Mela will specially focus on this aspect wherein various ethnic value added food products made from different traditional crops will be at display.
Agri-Startups and Agri-Industrial Expo: Startups in the agriculture sector have been capturing the attention of all due to their immense potential in income and employment generation opportunities. SKUAST-K has also taken the lead in promoting establishment of different ventures related to agriculture sector by upgrading the skills of youths.
This mela will also give an opportunity to those young entrepreneurs to depict their business models and prototypes. Similarly, an Agri-Industrial Expo will also promote the products developed by various stakeholders for further procurement by industrial houses and also for the industrial houses to demonstrate their products for purchase by the farming community.
Guidance and Awareness: Most of the programmes and schemes of the government as well as other agencies do not reach the ultimate beneficiaries because of the lack of awareness and knowledge. To make them aware and guide them regarding various programmes and schemes different development departments as well as financial institutions like J&K Bank, SBI, ICICI, NABARD, HDFC and many other organisations will be there to guide and aware all. They will come up with relevant literature.
Digital Agriculture: Today agriculture is witnessing what is called ‘digitalisation’. Digitalisation of agriculture has emerged as another revolution, more so for the large numbers of the world’s smallholder farmers.
Nearly a third of the global population relies on agriculture for a living, and growth in this sector has been shown to be at least twice as effective at reducing poverty as growth coming from other sectors. Thus Digitalisation has to be promoted.
The Mela will stress on smart agriculture technologies, precision farming, agricultural drones and different mobile apps. SKUAST-K has already started working on this aspect. The maiden drone demonstration of the university was done a few months back at KVK Kulgam as well as at main campus Shalimar. In the mela drone demonstration will also be done for the farming community.
Farmers-Scientist interaction: Another feature of the mela will be the Farmer-Scientist interaction where the farming community can interact with concerned subject matter specialists of SKUAST-Kashmir for answers of their queries.
Awards and Recognitions: The innovative farmers/farm women/young entrepreneur/students who have made significant and tangible contributions to the society will be recognised in the Mela through various awards.
Participation of SHG/FPOs/Educational Institutes: Different Self Help groups/ Farmer Producer Companies and Farmer Producer Organisations will also participate in this event with various kinds of niche products. The educational institutes of the valley will also be attending the mela wherein the students will learn more about agriculture and various farming practices. This in turn will definitely attract them and inspire them to try their fortunes in agriculture.
Livestock: Hybrid and high yielding livestock including cattle, goats and sheep will also be star attraction of the mela. Different poultry breeds will be demonstrated in the two day event. The poultry will also be available for sale.
Health Check up: SKUAST-K has also arranged for a free health check up camp for all wherein doctors will be available for consultation and free distribution of medicines.
The two day event will be a unique opportunity for all where in SKUAST-K will be demonstrating its technologies and show casing its achievements; other stakeholders will have this platform to learn, interact, update, build and expand their business.
Prof. Makhdoomi is Worthy Director Extension, SKUAST-K
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.