Transforming Agriculture in J&K through Atmanirbhar Bharat Scheme

By Prof. J.P. Sharma. Dated: 8/21/2020 12:37:54 PM

In India, agriculture remains the source of livelihood for more than 55 per cent of population. Any investment in agriculture by government is therefore represents a step towards well-being of half of country’s population. Under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Scheme the Government of India has announced a comprehensive package for agriculture and allied activities. This includes eight liquidity measures of Rs 1.50 lakh crore for various activities namely Rs 1 lakh crore for strengthening infrastructure projects at farm-gate and aggregation points such as Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies, Farmers Producer Organisations, Agriculture entrepreneurs etc. the activities such as cold storage, supply chain, startups, formalisation of Micro Food Enterprises (MFE) shall be the integral part of the scheme. The technical up-gradation of nearly 2 lakh MFEs shall be achieved to attain FSSAI food standards, build brands and marketing.
The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is blessed with three agroclimatic zones namely sub-tropical, intermediate and temperate. Besides cereals and pulses, the climate is conducive to all type of fruits, vegetables etc. But, due to poor infrastructure facilities such as cold storage, processing and value addition, huge post-harvest losses and wastages occurs in farm sector. The farmers in Union Territory (UT) of J&K can avail the benefits of the scheme through creation of required infrastructure. There is a huge scope to market and brand the local produce of the Jammu region by utilizing the funds through formalisation of Micro Food Enterprises.
Firm efforts are needed to popularise agri-products of Jammu region under the slogan of 'vocal for local' as envisaged by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India. Extension agencies should work in the direction of popularising the local produce of J&K such as local basmati of R.S. Pura, Rajmash of Bhaderwah, moth of Poonch, kesar and kalazeera of Kishtwar, walnut of Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban and pecan nut of Poonch, Rajouri etc. will get support for the domestic and global market.
Another important enterprise for J&K is the dairy sector which has huge potential to transform the rural economy. Livestock sector contributes more than 10 percent in gross domestic product of the UT. To expand the contribution of livestock sector an amount Rs 15,000 crore is allocated for dairy infrastructure. There is a dire need to adopt the scientific livestock management practices and the scheme offers Rs. 13,000 crores for 100 per cent vaccination of cattle and treatment of foot and mouth disease. With the popularization of herbal medicines, the scope for commercial cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants is enhanced. The government intends to spend Rs. 4,000 crore for promotion of herbal plants. The fragile and uncultivable land of kandi belt in Jammu region can be used economically by adoption of aromatic and medicinal plants cultivation. Bee-keeping is an enterprise with multiple benefits in farming. The government by allotting Rs. 500 crores for bee-keeping initiatives has ensured the multiplication of this venture for higher productivity and income in agriculture. The most untapped enterprise in UT of J&K is fisheries. Despite the availability of wide range of climate, the commercial fish rearing has not attained the desired position. With the allotment of Rs 20,000 under Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY), we need to explore the possibilities of benefitting the farmers in J&K through the adotion of scientific fishery rearing practices.
Farmer Produce Organizations (FPO) scheme is revamped by Government of India to extend benefits in favour of small and marginal farmers. Targeting formation of 10,0000 FPOs, government intends to augment farmers’ income by bringing a paradigm shift at grass-root level. Recently, operational guidelines of the scheme have been launched. The farmers in J&K can avail benefits by creating a group of 100 farmers. The scheme focuses on the concept of “One District One Product” for promoting efficient value chain, including processing and export. NABARD, SFAC, and NCDC are identified as the implementing agencies for the scheme wit professional backstopping by Cluster Based Business Organization (CBBOs).
Finally, the marketing remains a biggest challenge especially in hills where almost all farmers are marginal or small. The selection of wrong marketing channels owing to ow marketable surplus results in disorganized marketing. National Agriculture Market (e-NAM), provides an opportunity to enhance farmers’ accessibility to multiple number of markets & buyers, keeping in touch the transparency in price discovery mechanism and price realization based on quality of produce. With the aim to reach the last mile farmer & transform the way they sell their agriculture produce, e-NAM had expanded to 1000 mandis of 18 States and 03 Union Territories. Inclusion of UT of J&K under the new FPO trade Module, FPOs can undertake trade from their collection centres through e-NAM platform. The online market can effectively reduce transaction costs, bridge information asymmetries, and help in expanding market access for farmers. Aiming towards “One Nation One Market” e-NAM offers transparent and equitable opportunity for farmers to grow and attain economic gains.
All stakeholders, including extension functionaries, scientists, State Agricultural Universities must make collaborative efforts to fully explore the provisions of Atmanirnhar Bharat scheme for making farmers in J&K truly Atmanirbhar in social and economic context.
(The author is Vice Chancellor of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology of Jammu)



The Big Story: Death of Democracy... Read More



Daily horoscope