Jammu and Kashmir government under the leadership of Lt Governor Girish Chander Murmu has been taking proactive and pre-emptive steps to mitigate the widespread of COVID-19 and to start the chain of the economy keeping in view all the safety protocols.
From agriculture to manufacturing, from hospitality to small businesses, every sector has been impacted by the lockdown imposed to check the spread of the contagion. In the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the lockdown coincided with the wheat harvesting season which had to be followed by the sowing of paddy. It warranted timely measures by the Government to enable the farming community to cope up with harvesting, post-harvest management, storage and marketing of standing field and horticulture crops.
The Department has established a 24x7 Agri Facilitation Centre at Lakhanpur. 22 Agriculture Business Centres (ABCs) and Farm Machinery Banks are also operational. More than 50% harvesting of wheat has been achieved till date.
In Jammu province every year during wheat crop harvesting combine/ rippers harvesting machines come from Punjab, but this time around the whole movement was suspended due to lockdown. The standing crops of farmers were lying idle waiting to be harvested. It was then that the Agriculture Department intervened and mechanized harvesting machines were allowed to enter into the UT to facilitate farmers. The farmers appreciated the efforts of the Government which saved their crops and they were able to harvest despite the shortage of field labour.
This is also the time when the farm harvest reaches the mandis (market yards) for assured procurement operations by designated government agencies. The Department in collaboration with FCI has set up various procurement centres for farmers produce. Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, KK Sharma on April 27, had inaugurated Wheat Procurement Centers at Kathua, Samba and Jammu. Around 24 wheat procurement centres have been opened to facilitate the procurement of wheat in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts. The purpose of opening up the procurement centres was to ensure that farmers may not have to sell their produce at less than MSP of Rs 1925 per quintal. The result of this effort is that farmers are getting either equal or more than MSP. The Advisor also conducted field visits to assess on-ground activities in Marh and Mishriwala areas on April 25.
(Image credits: PTI)