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JAMMU: Minister for Horticulture, Syed Basharat Ahmed Bukhari, today called for determined efforts to bridge the gap between farmers, researchers, policy makers and development agencies for formulation and implementation of need based plans to help Horticulture emerge as a viable and lucrative venture in the state. The Minister was speaking during inaugural ceremony of National Symposium cum Indian Phytopathological Society (IPS) North Zone Meet on Ecologically Sustainable Plant Disease Management held under Diversified Farming Situation at SKUAST-Jammu.

 

The 2 day symposium cum meet was organized by Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) in collaboration with IPS, IARI, and New Delhi. Vice Chancellor SKUAST-Jammu, Prof Pradeep KSharma was the guest of honour on the occasion.

Applauding the initiative of SKUAST for organizing the event, the Minister said that such occasions greatly help working out innovative plans for promotion of a specific sector besides suggesting remedial measures for redressal of impediments in the existing system. “The meet will enable the participants to learn and implement the knowledge in their respective fields to further their objective of promoting Horticulture sector in the state to the fullest”, he added.  He emphasized the need of saving plants from diseases by taking proper care and precautions to maintain their health properly.

The Minister stressed on proper and timely dissemination of information about the advanced and innovative methods of agriculture being developed by the university. He said that awareness is pre-requisite for success of any scheme. To safeguard the interests of farmers, consumers and the Horticulture sector as a whole, Horticulture Department in a collaborated effort with SKUAST is going to organize mass awareness camps regarding newly formulated research and development strategies for effective management of plant health, the Minister asserted.

Citing Horticulture as an important contributor to SGDP, the Minister said that the Horticulture sector play a vital role in strengthening the economy of the state, poverty alleviation and employment generation. “About 7 Iakh families are directly or indirectly involved and depend on this core sector of state’s agriculture profile”, he added.

Bukhari said that J&K State has the privilege of being an important Agriculture Export Zone due to its good quality of Horticultural products that had garnered it with a world-wide fame. It holds a unique position in the world in respect of Saffron production , he added. The Minister, while highlighting various initiatives being undertaken by the Horticulture department to boost the sector, the Minister said that the department has recently conducted Horticulture census in order to have the first hand information available about the fruit bearing trees so that a comprehensive Horticulture policy is formulated for which an expert committee has also been constituted.

“There is a huge potential for growth of the horticulture sector in the state and the department is taking several pioneering steps to tap this”, he affirms”. Besides promoting modern farming technology in the State, Bukhari said that Government is formulating a visionary document in the form of State Horticulture Policy which will act as a roadmap for next 30 years to develop the horticulture sector.

Later, the Minister released a Souvenir and Book of Abstracts of the symposium besides  books titled “Pathogenic Fungi in Plant Organisms” and “Climate Change and its impact on Hill Agriculture” on the occasion. Patron and Director Research SKUAST, Dr Jag Paul Sharma, President, (North Zone),DrShahid Ahmed, Secretary, Dr Dinesh Singh, Convenor SKUAST Prof V K Razdan besides senior functionaries of SKUAST and Indian Phytopathological Society (IPS) along with senior officers of Horticulture department were present on the occasion.