Will strengthen ‘Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat’ initiative of PM: LG

Agri Deptt, Sikkim Govt, Varsity sign agreement
Excelsior Correspondent

Srinagar, July 12: In a historic move to further boost the growth of agriculture and horticulture sector, Agriculture Department of J&K UT, Sikkim Government and Sikkim University today signed a tripartite agreement for collaboration on training, technology, capacity building and extension activities for saffron and other temperate crops.
The agreement was signed in the presence of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and Governor of Sikkim, Ganga Prasad at the Civil Secretariat today.
Ganga Prasad, in his address, congratulated J&K’s Agriculture Department, Sikkim Government and Sikkim University for the beginning of a new partnership in agri-horticulture sector for both the regions.
This agreement will give a new direction to the efforts for saffron production in Sikkim, besides creating a better understanding of diverse aspects of saffron cultivation and other temperate crops, he added.
Manoj Sinha said the historic collaboration will strengthen “Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat” initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Research and technical intervention will bridge the gaps in value addition and supply chain infrastructure and help in reducing high post-harvest loss”, he added.
Sikkim being the first organic State in India has the expertise on organic production technologies and certification. “The collaboration will immensely help J&K to provide solutions and policy prescription for the organic farmers in the UT”, observed the Lt Governor.

He said that the exchange of knowledge, best practices and technical interventions will go a long way in promoting Social & Ecological Sustainability and Economic Sustainability in Agriculture, Horticulture and allied sectors.
On the occasion, Sinha highlighted the efforts of the UT Government to bring Agricultural reforms and provide maximum benefits to the farming community.
Outlining the focus of the UT Government on agriculture sector during the last two years, he said that Government support and credit facilities have been significantly enhanced and special attention is being paid to improve the productivity of small and marginal farmers, as also of Kandi areas of Jammu division.
“Agriculture Universities in the UT are playing a major role in promoting reforms and supporting diversification in the field of agriculture and horticulture, providing solutions, extending handholding to the farmers to meet the future requirements”, the Lt Governor observed.
Underscoring that Agriculture is the mainstay of J&K’s economy and 70% of the population is dependent on it, Sinha said, in this year’s budget, an amount of Rs 2835 crore has been allocated for agriculture and Rs 646 crore for horticulture sector, besides for the development of dairy and sheep sector, Rs 392 crore have been allocated separately so that positive changes can be made in the lives of the farmers and progress of villages can be given a new direction altogether.
Lok Nath Sharma, Minister of Agriculture, Sikkim, expressed gratitude to the J&K Government, Sikkim Government and all the stakeholders for taking a significant step towards the holistic development of agriculture and horticulture sector.
Atal Dulloo, Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture Production Department, J&K while speaking on the occasion, highlighted the significance of the tripartite agreement, besides efforts of the Government to promote Saffron cultivation.
Professor Avinash Khare, Vice Chancellor, Sikkim University also shared his views on opening up new avenues and exploring possibilities of diversification in cultivation of saffron and other temperate crops.
Chowdhary Mohammad Iqbal, Director, Department of Agriculture Production & Farmers Welfare Kashmir presented the vote of thanks.
A powerpoint presentation on ‘Study and Cultivation of Saffron in Sikkim – An outreach programme of Sikkim University’ was also presented on the occasion.
Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary; Prof Nazir Ahmad Ganai, Vice-Chancellor, SKUAST Kashmir;. Shabnam Kamili, Secretary, Agriculture Production and Farmers’ Welfare Department, besides HoDs, senior officials of J&K administration, Sikkim Government and Sikkim University were present on the occasion.