Farmers pin hopes on Modi’s SKUAST visit

Farmers pin hopes on Modi’s SKUAST visitFarmers and stakeholders have high hopes from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST), Jammu, on Saturday. He will be addressing the sixth convocation of the university.They feel that the Prime Minister, who has set out an ambitious goal to double farmers’ income by 2022 — the 75th year of the country’s Independence — may announce something big for the farming community to give a further boost to the Centre’s agricultural policy, which has witnessed a paradigm shift in recent years.“We know the Prime Minister is primarily visiting the SKUAST for attending the convocation and awarding the meritorious students, but he may give a push to his agricultural policy by announcing something good for the farming community. The Vice Chancellor, Prof Pradeep Kumar Sharma, will brief him about the initiatives taken by the university in creating awareness for better implementation of agricultural schemes such as crop insurance, soil health card and doubling the farming income by 2022,” said JP Sharma, Research Director, SKUAST, Jammu.Pertinently, the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre has launched a number of schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, soil health card, neem-coating of urea and e-NAM (electronic-National Agriculture Market) for achieving sustainable agricultural growth. The special focus is now on the profitability rather than simply the productivity aspect of farming.The Director said the university had adopted many villages where it had been working tirelessly to double the farmers’ income by 2020. “In 2017, we introduced 12 new seed varieties with special focus on Basmati rice and wheat, besides poultry. We hope the high-profile visit of the Prime Minister will also give a new impetus to our research programmes,” Sharma said.Meanwhile, Choudhary Dev Raj, president, RS Pura Basmati Rice Growers’ Association, said the Prime Minister should seriously look into the issue of death of farmers due to cross-border firing. “Though this is purely an academic function, we hope the Prime Minister will spell out the Centre’s policy for border farmers who are as important as security personnel. While the Centre has embarked on the project for doubling the farmers’ income, the state has done least to raise the income of basmati rice growers,” Raj said.

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