J&K has potential to become agri-tech startup hub: Jitendra

21/11/2022



JAMMU, Nov 20: Union Minister of State Ministry of Science and Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh, on Sunday said Jammu and Kashmir has huge potential to become an agri-tech startup hub.
Speaking to rep-orters on Sunday, the Union minister said, "The bamboo grown in Jammu can be converted into several useful pro-ducts, including incense sticks. The shelf life of fruits such as apples and strawberries can be extended by setting up cold-chain facilities and through technological interventions." Non-timber forest produce (NTFP) like guchis, mushrooms and other medicinal plants are found in great abundance in Jammu and Kashmir. Chenab valley or Pir Panjaal region (Rajouri, Poonch) ar home to good quality honey and NTFPs. However, these are not properly marketed.
The Union minister said the production, sale and marketing need to be taken up through a coll-aborative method, involving the state Forest department and J&K Medicinal Plants Board.
The Ministry of Ayush has agreed to provide Rs 200 crores for setting up a research centre in Baderwah, he informed.
Government organis-ations working in different development sectors such as Rural Development, Agriculture and Horticulture need constant hand-holding, the minister said, adding that the Sher-e-Kashmir Agriculture University (SKUAST) Kashmir, Sheep Husbandry and Animal Husbandry departments need to have a collaborative programme with the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI), which funds and supports agri-based start-ups in the Union Territory.
"This has to be done keeping in consideration local demands in the agriculture and horticulture sectors and to train the youth who want to make a career in these sectors," he said.
"To handhold these government organisations, it is very important to involve prominent NGOs, and research institutes working in Agri and allied sectors. For proper market linkages, the authorities need to bring in a policy guaranteeing Minimum Support Price (MSP) of the local Agri/ horticulture produce like apples, rajma and walnuts. The farmers need to be institutionalised into Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) and cooperatives," Singh said.
"The NGOs need to sensitise the farmers to get crop insurance done, which is very crucial in Jammu and Kashmir," he added.

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