One day Nutri-cereals Multistakeholders mega convention and Poshan Vatika and Tree plantation campaign event for International year of millets-2023 was organized at SKUAST Jammu on Friday. The programme started with virtual inauguration of the event by Shri N. S. Tomar, Hon’ble minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, GoI. In his virtual address, Professor J.P. Sharma, Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-Jammu and SKUAST-Kashmir said that in India nutri-cereals are grown on about 17 million ha with annual production of 18 million tonnes and contribute 10 percent to the country’s food grain basket. These nutri-cereals are highly nutritious and are known to have high nutrient content which includes protein, essential fatty acids, dietary fibre, B-Vitamins, minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium. They help in rendering health benefits like reduction in blood sugar level (diabetes), blood pressure regulation, thyroid, cardiovascular and celiac diseases. He further said that despite India is surplus in food grain production but the problem of malnutrition still exists in our country especially in children and lactating mothers. He emphasised that KVKs should create awareness among farmers, farm women and children regarding role of nutri-cereals in human nutrition and motivate them to establish nutrigarden on a piece of land in their fields or home garden. He said that these gardens have an established tradition and offer great potential for improving household food security and alleviating micronutrient deficiencies.
Dr. Jag Paul Sharma, Director Research and Registrar of the university who was chief guest on the occasion said that it has become imperative to reorient the efforts on millet crops to generate demand through value-addition of processed foods through diversification of processing technologies, nutritional evaluation and creation of awareness backed by backward integration. Dr. Bikram Singh, Dean, Faculty of Agriculture urged for plantation drive to mitigate the ill effects of global warming. Dr. Anju Bhat, Head Division of Food Science and Technology delivered an expert lecture on ‘Nutri-cereals and their role in human health’. Also, Dr. Sandeep Sehgal, Associate Professor, Division of Agroforestry delivered an expert lecture on ‘Role of plantation on sustainable agriculture and rural livelihood’. He said that tree plantations can contribute to economic growth and rural livelihoods. Agroforestry systems, the planting of perennial trees and/or shrubs with annual agronomic crops or pasture is an alternative system for agricultural production. Agroforestry provides a number of environmental benefits like climate change mitigation through carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, soil health enrichment and air and water quality improvement. In addition to environmental benefits, the economic benefits of multiple crops within agroforestry systems have also generated interest in their adoption by farmers throughout the world. During the event, seed material of vegetables and planting material of fruit plants were distributed among the farmers. Besides, plantation drive was also conducted during the programme. All the statutory officers, scientists, students and farmers attended the programme. Earlier, welcome address and introduction of the programme was delivered by Dr. Anil Sharma and vote of thanks was extended by Dr. Rakesh Sharma.