GOI to extend National Saffron Mission for 2 more years

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SRINAGAR: Union Agriculture Secretary, Mr Siraj Hussain  Friday reviewed the implementation of various agricultural and horticultural schemes in the State with Chief Secretary B R Sharma and other State Government officials in a meeting held at the Civil Secretariat here.
Implementation of the new schemes launched in the agriculture sector including the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojna (PMKSY) to achieve convergence of investment in irrigation at the field level, expand cultivable area under assured irrigation, improve on-farm water efficiency and enhance adoption of precision-irrigation and other water saving technologies was discussed in detail in the meeting.
It was informed that 5 IAS/IFS officers have been already trained to draw District Irrigation Plan (DIP) under the PMKSY and these officers will in association with the concerned Deputy Commissioners formulate a DIP comprising components namely water source, distribution network and water use application of the District. The formulation and implementation of DIP is expected to bring efficiency in the use of irrigation water.
Similarly the Union Secretary also reviewed the status of implementation of Soil Health Card scheme to promote soil health by setting soil and fertilizer testing labs, collecting soil samples and analyzing them, National Agriculture Market Scheme to expand market for farmers and to connect them to all India Mandis and Pramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna to promote organic farming.
Describing the National Agriculture Market scheme as a game changer in the next 5 years, the Union Secretary urged the State Government to fast track the necessary reforms needed for approval of requisite grants from Union Government for Mandis under the scheme. He said farmers of Jammu and Kashmir can immensely benefit from the National Agriculture Market and realize better returns for their produce.
While reviewing the implementation of the National Saffron Mission, the Union Secretary agreed to extend the saffron mission in Jammu and Kashmir by two more years. State Government had made a request to the Union Government to grant extension in the target date for completing the project, as minimum 2 years were needed to stabilize the corm losses suffered due to the adverse impact of floods and heavy downpour.
On the issue of clearance from the Union Ministry regarding the proposed setting up of the 2 Centres of Excellence of Horticulture for which DPRs prepared in collaboration with the Dutch experts have already been submitted, Mr Siraj assured to fast track the clearance process and said that he will communicate to the state Government about the status of the project.
Earlier, Commissioner Secretary, Agricultural Production Mr M A Bukhari gave a brief presentation on the status of various ongoing schemes in the agricultural and horticultural sector and achievements registered so far. He also spoke about the priorities set by the Government in boosting agricultural and horticultural production in the State and initiatives taken to realize the true potential of the sectors.

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