Around 2.5 lakh farmers to be trained in agri-skills: J&K ACS

Jammu:  Jammu and Kashmir Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture Production Department, Atal Dulloo on Tuesday discussed the recommendations of Dr Mangla Rai Apex Committee Report, which aims to provide skill improvement and entrepreneurship-related training to 2.5 lakh farmers engaged in agriculture and allied sectors in J&K.

The training aims at increasing their income and overall economy of Jammu and Kashmir.

Chairing a meeting to review Skill Development in Agriculture and its allied sectors at the Civil Secretariat, Dulloo stated that the main focus of the administration is to increase seed production and also highlighted the potential for fast-growing sectors such as trout production and mushroom cultivation to increase farmers’ income.

During the meeting, a presentation on the Holistic Agriculture Development Programme was given, which outlined the proposed courses for farmers.

A total of 29 skill training programs were proposed, including 21 in Agriculture and Horticulture, 3 in Agricultural Engineering, 4 in Forestry, 3 in Sericulture, 6 in Veterinary and Animal Sciences, 2 in Fisheries and 1 in Rural Business Management.

It was highlighted that there is a need for skilling and upskilling in the following emerging agriculture sectors: Farm Mechanization and Micro Irrigation, Protected cultivation such as Hydroponics, Greenhouse, Milk and Meat processing, Digital Agriculture, Weather forecasting, Agriculture warehousing and cold chain logistics, Alternate energy such as SOLAR and BIOMASS, and Commodity supply chain management. These sectors are seen as key areas for growth and development in the agriculture industry and training in these areas will help farmers and professionals stay current and competitive in the market.

The ACS emphasised the importance of providing training on food processing, value addition and market linkage as well as fostering a culture of self-employment and entrepreneurship in Jammu and Kashmir.

He suggested that participants be provided with certificates upon completion of the training courses, and also suggested that entrepreneurship development programmes should be included in the course curriculum.

He said that sensitisation of the departmental staff is being done and will be completed by April this year and directed that the curriculum design be finalised in a month, resource persons for which be identified and trained by March, and a training calendar for 2023-24 be released subsequently.

He also emphasised the importance of making use of existing training centres in various departments.

Dulloo asked that training-related videos be made so that more farmers can be educated in the easiest manner.

The videos should be made by February ending and be posted on a dedicated YouTube channel. One committee for each course will be formed with constituent members from IIM, SKUAST and respective departments.