June 22, 2010 3:02:40 pm
Jammu and Kashmir has a huge potential for becoming the production hub of disease free and quality potatoes,the Minister for Agriculture G H Mir has said.
Mir,who was speaking at a two-day seminar on “Potato development in Jammu” at Sanasar yesterday,said the availability of large land area and the favourable climate boded well for potato seed tubers’ crop in the state.
The state has maximum land area under 5000-8000 feet altitude,considered appropriate for potato cultivation.
G H Mir noted farming of potato seed tubers could create new employment opportunities and that ‘hill-station’ land holders needed to introduce modern agriculture technology to make the state self-sufficient.
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The minister said the government will make maximum funds available for farmers and create seed villages,which will provide all modern technical inputs to the farmers to boost the potato harvest.
He also called for supply of disease free seed tubers and dissemination of scientific information to the farmers to ensure high quality crop yield.
Besides,there was also the need to impart the necessary training to the field staff and farmers,as well as expansion of food production area across the state,the minister said.
Mir said the potato crop could be processed into chips,which thanks to Kashmir’s big tourism industry,could help revive the rural economy.
The Minister of state for agriculture,Javid Ahmed Dar said his ministry would set targets for commercial potato cultivation and potato seed production,as the state had tremendous scope for growing potato seed tubers.
Dar said the government would take cue from neigbouring states like Punjab where the farmers had revolutionised the sector by adopting commercialisation.
The Minister said that the potato crop would now be insured under National Agriculture Insurance Scheme with nominal premium rate to safeguard farmers from losses due to natural calamities.
Dar also called for establishing cooperative societies of potato seed growers on the pattern of Himachal Pradesh to promote and market the crop.
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