Agriculture Bulwark of State’s Economy: Omar

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Srinagar, Sept 26 – Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah Wednesday equated agriculture development with prosperity adding that use of high yielding and disease resistant seed varieties have revolutionized farm production and productivity universally. He said that adoption of modern cultivation practices have given additional boost to agricultural activities ensuring increased and quality production.

Inspecting the functioning of Mountain Research Centre, Khudwani in South Kashmir this morning, the Chief Minister said that Kashmir Valley has traditionally remained paddy producing area and South Kashmir is denoted as ‘rice granary’ of Kashmir Division.

“Unfortunately diversion of paddy land for non-agricultural practices has hit the production of rice”, he said adding that saturation in the availability of land for cultivation has also impacted the production. However, he said that the silver line in the scenario is the shift taking place from traditional practices of cultivation to the use of modern technology and sowing of high yielding varieties of seeds assuring good production.

The Chief Minister said that the role of Research Centers like that of Khudwani in transferring technology from lab to land and evolving area feasible and improved seed varieties for cultivation, is of significant importance. He said that Khudwani Research Centre possesses a good record of developing new and befitting paddy varieties for Kashmir Valley which have shown substantial result on ground. He expressed the hope that the Research Centre would continue its efforts to produce best quality foundation and breeders seed for new generation paddy varieties and popularize the same amongst the farmers to help enhance its production.

Omar Abdullah said that his government has given fullest attention to the development of agriculture and allied sectors adding that farm activities have almost been kept out of the ambit of taxes to provide necessary succor to the farmers and encourage them venture in the agriculture related activities.

Describing agriculture bulwark of State’s economy, the Chief Minister said that this sector has greater potential for investors and it promises profitable and viable area for youth to go for MSME units and earn handsome livelihood not only for themselves but also for their brethren by providing them various jobs.

The Chief Minister said that his government would provide all necessary support to the Sher-i-Kashmir University of Agriculture Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) and other agencies including Agriculture Production Department to help develop agriculture and allied sectors holistically in the State.

The Chief Minister inspected foundation seed production plot of rice variety Jehlum, the most preferred variety developed by the Khudwani Research Centre and released for general cultivation up to an elevation of 1680 m amsl. This variety has the production of 6-6.5 tonnes per hectare. The variety covers almost 20 percent of rice grown area in the Valley.

Omar Abdullah also inspected foundation seed production plot of Shalimar Rice-1 also produced and released by the Centre. This variety is blast resistant and is recommended up to the elevation of 1600 m amsl. The variety is prolific yielder and its productivity ranges between 8-9 tonnes per hectare. He inspected breeder seed production plots of both these varieties and visited crop museum.

The Chief Minister was presented resume of the research activities and achievements of the Research Station. He was told that two high yielding rice varieties of Shalimar-2 and Shalimar-3 have been released by the Research Station during this year for general cultivation up to an altitude of 1650 m amsl and these possess yield potential of 9.5 to 10 tonnes per hectare. It was stated that Shalimar Rice-2 has shown a yield potential of 12 tonnes per hectare in district Bandipora which is a record.

The Chief Minister was also briefed about conservation of rice bio-diversity programme, all India coordinated rice improvement project, international network for genetic evaluation of rice, development of fine grain aromatic basmati lines suitable for cultivation in the valley, system of rice intensification and other programmes being carried on by the Mountain Research Station, Khudwani.

Minister for Agriculture, Ghulam Hassan Mir and Vice Chancellor SKUAST, Kashmir were also present on the occasion.

The Chief Minister interacted with a group of farmers on the occasion and heard their views about the benefits of cultivating improved seed varieties of paddy produced in Khudwani Rice Station. He impressed upon them to utilize modern methods of farm technology and take to the practice of sowing disease resistant, early maturing and high yielding varieties to ensure increase in per unit production and productivity. He also asked them to adopt double-cropping pattern and use balanced dozes of fertilizers.

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