At the beginning of the month, Jammu and Kashmir administration showed a green flag to the implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and the Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS) in the Union Territory. The crops covered under the scheme are — paddy, maize, oilseed, wheat, apple, saffron, mango, and Litchi.
A farmer’s worst nightmare is the destruction of his crops by natural calamities. And this is a grave matter when an economy is heavily dependent upon its produce.
A high-profile meeting of the State Level Coordination Committee on Crop Insurance (SLCCCI) approved the modus operandi to be implemented for the successful employment of these Schemes in the UT. The scheme will keep the credit in the agriculture sector rolling and mitigate the financial risk of the farmers facing crop losses so their income can be stabilised.
The J&K government flagged off Information, Education & Communication (IEC) Van in the celebration of Crop Insurance Week to spread awareness on the topic and enroll as many farmers under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna during Kharif 2022-23.
IFFCO TOKIO & RELIANCE insurance companies in collaboration with the Agriculture Department are helping with the digital how-to of the scheme such as, how to use the portal to enroll, how to claim insurance under different circumstances, and reporting the loss of crops, etc.
The Ministry of Agriculture has given special impetus to agri-entrepreneurship in this year’s budget. In J&K, the administration is committed to providing facilities such as Godowns, Custom Hiring Centers, Primary Processing Units, Sorting and Grading Units, and Cold storage at low costs to motivate people to take up entrepreneurial initiatives. Special promotions and subsidies are being given to Beekeeping under the National Beekeeping and Honey Mission.
The Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK) have organized a 15-Day certificate course on Integrated Nutrient Management with the help of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology. Such programmes will go a long way in helping farmers to understand how to secure crops with optimum nutritional value.
Other certificate courses include an in-depth study on Post Production Agriculture, Processing, Value addition, and Marketing and Branding of farmer’s produce. The aim is to make the agriculture sector farmer-friendly. The government is conducting Kisan Melas to bridge the gap between the farmers and agriculture scientists.
Self-Help Groups are learning skills such as food processing, fruit growing and management, animal husbandry, poultry, mushrooms, organic farming, propagation of aromatic/medicinal plants, etc.
New KVK centers are opening up in the UT. In July, DDC Chairman Kathua said that the upcoming Krishi Vigyan Kendra at Basohli will be a game changer for boosting the agriculture economy of the hilly region of Kathua district. Another one will soon be established on a patch of 130 Kanals of agricultural land under the guidance of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Science and Technology (SKUAST) at Plakh in the Basohli sub-district.
At the beginning of the fiscal year, the Prime Minister expressed his aim to ensure that the farmer’s income is doubled.
The Center sponsors various schemes of farmers’ welfare – Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY); National Food Security Mission (NFSM); National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NMAET); Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH); National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP); National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA); Integrated Scheme Development of Sericulture Industry Catalytic Development Program (CDP); Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY); National E-Governance Plan for Agriculture (NeGP-A); Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY); and National Adoption Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC).
The Department of Agriculture in J&K takes soil health very seriously, and even more so now because the Union Territory is fast becoming the hub for chemical-free produce. Many sectors in India, like the alternative medicine industry (Homeopathy and Ayurveda) is depending upon the purity of medicinal plants growing on the hills of Jammu and Kashmir Valley. Therefore, KVKs in J&K — publicize the latest technologies in organic farming; utilize the services of experts from the public agricultural research system in India; and organise at least one cluster demonstration in a village every week.
Organic Farming of J&K already has created a niche for itself abroad. Germany wants Lavender and the Gulf wants Cherries and Apricots solely from Kashmir.
The Agriculture Department has formed organic villages in all the ten districts of Kashmir on an experimental basis. They include – Banagund, Patalbagh, and in Pulwama; Safanagri in Shopian; Harnoo, Hawoora, Arigam, Khalshipora in Budgam; near Shuglipora in Srinagar; Dalri Dagripora in Baramulla; Ganastan and Watapora in Bandipora; Patishalbugh in Ganderbal; Hatmulla in Kupwara; Bangidar and Qazigund in Anantnag; and Wazirpora and Makanpora in Kulgam.
The agriculture practices in J&K are undergoing a massive transformation. The focus remains on improving quality, employing scientific techniques to increase quantity, and preserving the unique identity of the land’s produce by growing the indigenous crops through traditional methods. And all this is being achieved because the tiller of the soil has now assurance that J&K administration would back him amidst all kinds of situations.