Sh. Parshottam Rupala, Union Cabinet Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying – Govt. of India urged farmers to adopt diversification in agriculture for achieving sustainability. He was speaking as a Chief Guest at the inaugural ceremony of a 5-days’ long Northern India Regional Agriculture Fair 2021 here at SKUAST Jammu. Union Minister congratulated the University for organizing the Regional Agriculture Fair with focus on demonstration of the innovative technologies developed by the university to improve agricultural productivity and sustainability in the Jammu region. Union Minister thanked Prof. J. P. Sharma, Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-Jammu for inviting him to inaugurate Northern India Regional Agriculture Fair 2021 and Innovative Farmers’ Conference. He also congratulated SKUAST-Jammu for bringing teachers, students, farmers and entrepreneur on a common platform for exchanging their valuable and innovative experiences. He appreciated the stalls and technology interventions for showcasing and exchanging the technologies among farmers of different states and Union Territories.
He also suggested farmers to visit integrated farming system of SKUAST-Jammu and develop it at their farm to increase their income to many fold. Union Cabinet Minister also assured that all the issues of the SKUAST-Jammu will be considered on priority for development of the university. He also said that there is immense scope for fish and livestock farming in Union Territory of J&K and Ladakh for doubling the farmers’ income. Sh. Rupala further informed that the limit for the establishment of project in livestock is increased by Govt of India from 05 number of animals to 200 with 50 per cent subsidy. He said scaling of farmers of J&K UT is required and in this regard SKUAST-Jammu can become a Model University for diffusion of innovative technologies from lab to land. He appreciated farmers for playing major role in bringing country to its new heights. He also appreciated about the formation of plantation committee in one of the villages of Udhampur district and said to replicate it in other areas of the country.
In his welcome address, Prof. J.P. Sharma, Hon’ble Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-Jammu and Chief Patron of the Kisan mela highlighted the activities of the University and said that 5 days Northern India Regional Agriculture Fair 2021 is first of its kind in the history of SKUAST-Jammu which is also available on virtual platform. He said we are feeling proud with the presence of Union Cabinet Minister during Navratras. Prof. Sharma said that inspite of being 70% area of Jammu region is rainfed and average land holding is 0.55 ha, but still there are immense opportunities in agriculture and allied sectors. Vice Chancellor said that we have to focus on low volume high value crops other than the traditional crops. Prof. Sharma also spoke about the promotion of One district One Product which are already identified. Prof. Sharma said that University is working on the replication of Innovation of farmers and also strengthening of facilities like conversion of Herbal Garden into wellness centre, agro-tourism, branding and marketing of local products. He said that the Agriculture Fair is focusing on demonstration of the transferable technologies developed by the university to improve agricultural productivity and sustainability in the Jammu region. Prof. Sharma said that the event shall bring a large number of farmers, farm women, livestock owners, agri-preneurs, industrialists, rural youth, researchers, technocrats, extensions workers, students and policy makers at one platform, wherein they shall have direct access to latest innovative ideas available in the field of agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry and other allied sectors. Prof, Sharma further informed that main attractions of the mela will be exhibition of latest agri-start-ups, one day workshop on bee keeping, workshop on packaging industry, basmati producers workshop, agri-tourism, kisan ghosties, sale of quality seed and planting material, live demonstration of new varieties, flower show, vegetable show, fruit show, passport mela, animal & dog show, agri-tourism, rural sports and farmers-scientist interaction, presentation by innovative farmers and cultural programme by Indian Council of Cultural relations. The Agriculture fair is being organized in collaboration with SKUAST-Kashmir, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, APEDA, Government of India, Department of Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry, Floriculture, Sheep Husbandry, Sericulture, Fisheries, Command Area Development, etc. During the inaugural function, three Padma Shree farmers and five National Awardee farmers were felicitated for their outstanding contribution in agriculture. Besides publications were also released. Earlier, the Union Minister inaugurated Livestock Show, Fish Seed Production Hatchery, Seed Stocking Unit, virtually launched Model Poultry Hatchery Unit and inspected exhibitions and stalls demonstrated by the university, line departments, farmers, start-ups etc. The program at Baba Jitto Auditorium started with the lightning of traditional lamp by the dignitaries.
Sh. Navin Kumar Choudhary, Agriculture Production Commissioner, Department of Agriculture Production and Farmers’ Welfare and Horticulture also spoke on the occasion. He said that SKUAST-Jammu is a young university and needs handholding. He also requested Union Cabinet Minister to consider SKUAST-Jammu for upgradation from SAU to Central Agriculture University. He said that Department of Agriculture and other line departments along with university are working in tandem to reach the farming community with all the facilities at doorstep. Sh. Sultan Singh, Padma Shree and Fishman of India, informed the gathering about his success journey about fish farming. Farmers from all the northern states viz., Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, J&K UT visited SKUAST-Jammu to actively participate in the Northern Indian Regional Agriculture Fair – 2021. Sh. Ashok Koul, General Secretary BJP, Sh. Chander Mohan Gupta, Mayor Jammu, Sh. Bharat Bhushan Tyagi, Dr. Ashok Aima, Vice Chancellor, CUJ, Dr. K. S. Risam, Former Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-Jammu, Dr. G. R. Bhagat, Ex-MLA, statutory officers, HoDs of various departments; faculty members, students of SKUAST-J, besides scores of farmers were present on the occasion. Vote of thanks was extended by Dr. M. S. Bhadwal, Dean, F.V.Sc. & A.H.