Jammu: Flagging crop insurance and marketing support to the produce as key to restore the confidence of farming community in the agriculture sector, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti today directed the administration to see how these two facilities are ensured to agriculturists even as she suggested use of CDF funds to give a push to rural economy.
Chairing a meeting of J&K Board for the Development of Kissans here today, the Chief Minister said over the decades farmers have started losing interest in the trade due to poor or unstable marketing facilities or fear of crop loss in the event of any natural calamity like drought, hailstorm, floods etc. She asked the administration to plug the loopholes in this regard and see how various schemes and programmes meant for marketing agricultural produce and insurance of the crops are effectively and extensively executed on the ground. Likewise, she said, transportation also plays a role in the timely dispatch of the agriculture produce to mandies and directed augmentation of the same.
Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Singh, Minister for R&B and Parliamentary Affairs, A. R. Veeri, Minister for Agriculture, Ghulam Nabi Lone, Minister for Finance, Dr. Haseeb A. Drabu, Minister for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control, Sham Choudhary, Minister for Animal & Sheep Husbandry, Abdul Ghani Kohli, Minister for Cooperatives, T. Dorjey, Minister for FCS&CA, CH. Zulfkar Ali, Minister for Rural Development, Abdul Haq, Minister of State for Tourism, Floriculture, Priya Sethi, Minister of State for Fisheries and Forests, Mir Zahoor, Minister of State for Transport, Sunil Sharma, vice chairman, J&K Board for the Development of Kissans, Daljeet Singh Chib were present in the meeting.
The Chief Minister, who is also chairperson of the board, said rural economy needs to be given a push as other economies have either reached a saturation stage or are not so rewarding. She said agriculture and allied sectors still hold a good scope of employability in rural and semi-urban areas. She said if concerted efforts are made agriculture would see a turnaround in the coming four to five years.
Mehbooba Mufti expressed happiness that procurement mandies are being set up in many areas of the State which would enable farmers in stabilization of selling price of their produce. She said also more and more soil testing labs are being set up to advise farmers which land is suitable for which cultivation. She suggested commercial exploitation of wild foods, herbs and mentioned specifically Anar Dana to be promoted for commercial cultivation.
The Chief Minister mentioned the demand of flowers in our daily life and asked the Floriculture Department to promote flower cultivation in a big way. She suggested that the Market Intervention Scheme should not be restricted to fruits only but be extended to flowers and other produce. She said funds won’t be a problem in this regard.
Mehbooba Mufti suggested that funds under Constituency Development Fund may be used to undertake economic activities in poultry, fisheries, apiculture and other areas of rural economy. She also suggested creating constituency-wise model villages for poultry, milk, fisheries, vegetables, basmati, mushkbudji, sheep etc. where these rural economy sectors would be developed exclusively and extensively. She said Animal & Sheep husbandry sector has a huge potential in strengthening rural economy.
During the meeting, the Chief Minister sought details of waiving off of Kissan credit loans and directed removal of all bottlenecks to make the process speedy. She also sought details of the steps being taken for development of vegetable mandi at Assar Doda and also steps being taken for promotion of Sunflower cultivation in the State.
Mehbooba Mufti stressed on exhibiting and displaying of all schemes and facilities for the farming community. She said many of the irrigation canals damaged in the floods of 2014 are being restored.
The Chief Minister said Kissan Board is a forum to seek feedback directly from the farmers. She asked the members to promote farming as a full time occupation with good monetary returns. She said the board should advise the Government on policy issues and measures to be taken for the growth of agriculture sector. She assured full support to the board in the conduct of its activities.
Making his intervention, Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Singh complimented the board for its activation and sought increase in the frequency of its meetings. He said the cooperative movement needs to be revived in the State and sought to undertake a data assessment of impact level in the agriculture sector in the State. He said the Agenda of Alliance of the present Government has vowed the growth and development of agriculture in the State.
Earlier, Ministers for R&B, Finance, Cooperatives, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs and Grdens & Floriculture also made their interventions and suggestions for the development of agriculture sector and to make the functioning of the board more vibrant.
Vice Chairman, Kissan Board thanked the Chief Minister for closely monitoring the activities of and taking interest in the activities of the board. He said the Chief Minister has restored the trust of kissans and today’s meeting in which she listened to the suggestions of individual farmers keenly is a pointer in this direction. He demanded setting up of permanent mandies for procurement of paddy.
Chief Secretary, B. R. Sharma, Chairman, J&K Bank, Mr. Parvez Ahmad, Financial Commissioner, Agriculture Production, Pramod Jain, administrative secretaries of several Departments and members of the board were also present in the meeting. (PTK)