Srinagar: Describing agriculture as "bulwark" of the state`s economy, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Wednesday said adoption of modern cultivation practices have given additional boost to farming activities ensuring increased and quality production.
"The government has given fullest attention to the development of agriculture and allied sectors... Farm activities have almost been kept out of the ambit of taxes to provide necessary succor to the farmers and encourage them venture in the agriculture related activities," he said.
He was speaking at an event after inspecting the functioning of Mountain Research Centre at Khudwani in Anantnag district of south Kashmir.
The agriculture sector has greater potential for investors and it promises profitable and viable area for youth to go for MSME units and earn handsome livelihood, he said.
"Kashmir Valley has traditionally remained paddy producing area and south Kashmir is denoted as `rice granary` of the Division," he said, adding that "unfortunately diversion of paddy land for non-agricultural practices has hit the production of rice".
He said the saturation in the availability of land for cultivation has also impacted the production.
However, Omar said the silver line in the scenario is the shift taking place from traditional practices of cultivation to the use of modern technology and sowing of high yielding varieties of seeds assuring good production.
Abdullah said the role of Research Centers like that of Khudwani in transferring technology from lab to land and evolving area feasible and improved seed varieties for cultivation, is of significant importance.
"Khudwani Research Centre possesses a good record of developing new and befitting paddy varieties for Kashmir Valley which have shown substantial result on ground," he said.
He also expressed hope that the Centre would continue its efforts to produce best quality foundation and breeders seed for new generation paddy varieties and popularise the same among farmers to help enhance its production.
The Chief Minister said his government would provide all necessary support to Sher-i-Kashmir University of Agriculture Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) and other agencies including Agriculture Production Department to help develop agriculture and allied sectors holistically.
The Chief Minister interacted with a group of farmers on the occasion and heard their views about the benefits of cultivating improved seed varieties of paddy produced in Khudwani Rice Station.
He impressed upon them to utilise modern methods of farm technology and take to the practice of sowing disease resistant, early maturing and high yielding varieties to ensure increase in per unit production and productivity.
He also asked them to adopt double-cropping pattern and use balanced dozes of fertilizers.