Agriculture is an important sector of the economy given its substantial contribution to the total GDP. Jammu and Kashmir’s economy is mainly dependent on it as almost 70% of the population is directly or indirectly engaged in agricultural and allied activities.
With the endeavor to double the contribution of Agri-GDP in next five years from $4 billion to $8 billion, the government has constituted UT Level Apex Committee (UTLAC) for framing a “comprehensive Agriculture Policy” for holistic development of farm and allied sectors in J&K.
Headed by Ex-DG ICAR, the panel has been formed with an objective of transforming “subsistence agriculture’ to sustainable agri-economy.
Its terms and conditions include directing and monitoring “timely working of the Technical Working Groups (TWGs)” as well as acting as a “strategic advisory committee” at top level. Importantly, it has been tasked with the job to draw the broader contours of the strategic roadmap for the growth and development of agriculture in different activities on which the respective domain TWGs shall work upon. It has also been tasked to meet target of 100% SRR with quality seeds, by building seed multiplication chains in PPP or through private entrepreneurships, double resource use efficiency from 30% to 60% in respect of nutrients and moisture as well as reducing food waste to 1/3 (10%) through proper post-harvest management by building suitable infrastructure and tripling food processing from 5 to 15% by focus on secondary agriculture etc.
Not only this, it has been tasked to build capacity to meet the requirements of the quality planting material and establish functional and profitable FPOs in all districts of J&K.
The panel has been asked to submit the policy recommendation within a period of four months which reflects the urgency the government has according to the sector.
It is a welcome step and the panel so formed is expected to formulate the sought of workable vision document.
The government must continue to focus on technology as penetration of the latter in the farm sector is happening at multiple levels across the globe including in many parts of India. It is expected these technologies interventions will help increase crop yield, bring stability in production, and make crops resistant to pests and ecological changes. Improvement in the post-harvesting shelf life is also expected to a large extent.
Also it is important that the government should take all the measures needed to make farming a highly remunerative and gainful profession.