J&K’s Agricultural Universities to help farmers promote, brand their products

Surveying, sensitisation process underway in Kashmir valley

New initiatives to assist farmers, FPOs immensely

Bivek Mathur

JAMMU, Apr 5 : In a bid to revolutionize the agriculture and uplift the farming community in Jammu and Kashmir, the two Sher-e-Kashmir Universities of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) in the UT are embarking on a groundbreaking endeavor.
With the establishment of two Agriculture Branding Centres (ABCs), one each in Jammu and Kashmir regions, these Universities are set to empower local farmers, ensuring their produce gets a wider market, both online and offline.

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These Agriculture Branding Centres (ABCs) are being opened in collaboration with the Department of Horticulture, Planning and Marketing as part of the larger project, under which 29 major interventions have been proposed to transform the agricultural economy of the UT with an objective of increasing the farmers’ share to the GDP.
Notably, in the Jammu region, an ABC has been proposed to be constructed at the Chatha campus of SKUAST-J, with an estimated cost of Rs 128.40 lakh.
Simultaneously, sans building, a similar center has already started operations at the SKUAST-Kashmir campus.
Dr Farhat Shaheen, Associate Professor at SKUAST-Kashmir, elucidated on the pivotal role of these centers.
“Beyond mere infrastructure, these centres serve as bastions of institutional support, guiding farmers through the intricate process of branding and marketing their agricultural products,” he said.
Through comprehensive surveys and awareness programs across the Kashmir valley, he said, farmers are already being equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to elevate their produce to market standards.
Dr Shaheen outlined the next phase of action, which involves conducting rigorous laboratory tests in collaboration with scientific and technological institutions.
“This meticulous evaluation of nutritional and chemical properties aimed at refining and enhancing the quality of agricultural goods,” he said.
He said thereafter, the Universities will seek the expertise of institutions like Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Indian Institute of Management (IIM) to provide help to the farmers in proper branding and packaging of their products to make them market-ready.
“The impact of these initiatives extends beyond individual farmers to encompass the broader agricultural ecosystem, including Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), and this planning in the agriculture sector will surely give the necessary push to the agricultural economy of the region,” he said.
Pertinently, under the larger project aimed at strengthening the agricultural economy of the UT, the J&K Government has proposed 29 major interventions in the agriculture sector, including development of seed and seed multiplication chain in PPP mode, promotion of niche crops, promotion of vegetables/exotic vegetables under open & hi-tech protected cultivation, strengthening agri-marketing system in UT of J&K, promotion of medicinal/aromatic plants on commercial basis, promotion of bee keeping, technological interventions to strengthen sericulture in J&K, promotion of nutri cereals (millets), farm mechanization & automation, promotion of mushroom cultivation, promotion of oilseeds, formulation of 300 FPOs, adoption & promotion of integrate farming system (IFS)/integrated livelihood systems (ILS) in UT of J&K, development of rain fed areas of J&K, promotion of commercial floriculture in UT of J&K, alternate agriculture system for sustainability, sensor based smart agriculture, minimizing pesticide use in agriculture, J&K soil & land resource information system, innovative approaches in agriculture extension, production of designer plants for promotion of HD plants and rejuvenation of orchards, UT level food processing program for development of clusters for specific products of J&K, dairy development in J&K, reorienting priorities: self-sufficiency in mutton production in J&K, roadmap for poultry development in J&K, technological interventions for fish seed and trout production in UT of J&K, promotion of wool/pelt processing and marketing, development of fodder resources for UT of J&K, and support to human resource development for technological backstop for sustainable and accelerated transformation of agriculture.