JAMMU: Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Jammu celebrated World Food Day 2020 at Baba Jitto Auditorium.
Vice Chancellor SKUAST-Jammu, Prof. J. P. Sharma was the chief guest on the occasion.
The theme for World Food Day 2020 was Grow, Nourish, Sustain: Together Our Actions are Our Future. Prof. J P Sharma delivered a keynote lecture discussing Journey of Agriculture from 1950 to till date and also gave the detailed data about the increase in production of foodgrains from 50 million tonnes in 1950 to 300 million tonnes in 2019.
He briefed that now horticulture sector is also gaining momentum and it will be a major occupation surpassing agriculture. Dairy sector, fisheries, protected cultivation, processing and value addition, poultry, bee keeping, organic farming, herbal cultivation, hydroponics etc are other areas which are having challenges as well as opportunities. Journey of growth in case of milk production and fisheries is also satisfying as India stands at number one position in the world in milk production.
Prof. Sharma was of the opinion that since we are self sufficient in production of almost all the commodities, now we need to focus on post harvest management to reduce the losses which are to the tune of 20 per cent to 30 per cent in case of grains and even more for perishable commodities like fruits and vegetables. He said that our agriculture programmes should be reoriented that link production with marketing.
He emphasised that the need of the hour is to develop competencies of farmers in packaging, branding and marketing. He urged that climate smart technologies should be developed to cope up the challenges of climate change.
He emphasised that in J&K, organic clusters of Basmati and Rajmash should be developed as the demand of organic products is increasing day by day.
He mentioned that 85% of the farmers are marginal and small and land availability per household has also declined from 2.73ha in 1970 to about 1 ha in 2019 at national level which is even less in J&K with 0.6 ha per household. The reasons for the same is conversion of agriculture land into other activities like construction of buildings and roads. He emphasized that vertical farming is the alternative solution to increase production but it needs further research. Upscaling of innovation, conservation agriculture, integrated farming system, micro-irrigation are other areas of priority.
Prof. Sharma urged that KVK’s should establish protected cultivation structures, Integrated Farming System model and Processing Units at their centres and promote participatory seed production among farmers. He said that the need of the hour is to shift from production to profitability and farmers need to learn how to earn more and not only how to produce more. Prof. Sharma urged farmers to avail more and more benefits from the schemes recently launched under Atmanirbhar Bharat.
On the occasion, Professor Sharma also stressed upon adoption of new technologies like Peri Urban Agriculture, Roof Top Agriculture, value addition of vegetables, fruits and flowers, fragrance and flavours in medicinal and aromatic plants, development Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development, strengthening of landscaping, formulation of Farmers Producer Organizations (FPO’’s) and one village one commodity.
Dr. Rajesh Katoch, Dean Students Welfare welcomed chief guest, Statutory Officers, Head of Divisions and faculty. At the end, vote of thanks was presented by Dr. Akhil Gupta.
Earlier, Division of Food Science & Technology, SKUAST-J also organized World Food Day where Dr Anju Bhat, Head, Division of FST highlighted the significance of good eating habits on the maintenance of good health. Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Poonch of SKUAST-Jammu and Department of Horticulture Poonch also organized a joint programme to mark the 75th anniversary of FAO.
The employees from KVK Poonch, MBRSS Poonch and Department of Horticulture participated in the programme and watched live telecast of address by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on the occasion of World Food Day. Dr. Ajay Gupta, Senior Scientist and Head, KVK, Poonch highlighted the importance of bio fortified varieties for overcoming many nutrition related disorders.
Rajinder Lochan, Vinay Vilas and Hamied Kohli from Department of Horticulture were also present in the programme. The officials pledged to work for increasing income of farmers to achieve the target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.