The agriculture and allied sectors in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir are poised for significant growth and boost with launch of a slew of technological advancements and extension programs.
These interventions, incentivized through various schemes and projects, have already led to improvements in quality and quantity of produce in the region.
However, the challenge remains in integrating smallholder produce with market systems that are both effective and transparent. This will ensure that farmers receive a fair price for their goods while consumers get good value for their money. To tackle this issue, Jammu and Kashmir is implementing a project under Holistic Agriculture Development Program (HADP) that aims to strengthen the existing market infrastructure and create a robust market ecosystem that caters to the needs of all stakeholders.
Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture Production Department, Atal Dulloo, emphasized that the proposed project will be segmented into several key areas. These included market reforms, infrastructure development, institutional and capacity building, branding, digital marketing, and market research information systems. The project aims to achieve its objectives through an investment of Rs 560 crore, which will be spread over a period of five years.
Dulloo expressed confidence that this project will bring about significant improvements in agriculture and allied sectors in Jammu & Kashmir, providing a boost to the region’s economy and benefiting farmers and consumers alike.
The project aims to improve the Terms of Trade (ToT) in favor of farmers, improve efficiency and effectiveness of the market ecosystem and minimize the value loss while maximizing societal welfare. The proposed activities or areas of intervention will strengthen the existing agricultural marketing system in Jammu & Kashmir, bringing long-term dividends across stakeholders, particularly farmer-producers.
The proposed project also envisages significant growth in agriculture and allied sectors through various activities. The market reforms included implementation of an open auction system, a single license for trading in all mandies, and institutionalization of post-harvest infrastructure with the eNAM network. Infrastructure development will involve converting mandies into value chain parks, creating new mandies and installing composting units. Besides, institutional building and capacity development will focus on the formation of Niche Product Marketing FPOs.
Branding activities will include creation of two Agriculture Branding Centers, mapping of existing branding practices, farmers/FPO brand building training and workshops, and integration of branded niche products with the tourism and hotel industry. Lastly, rural business and service hubs will be established in production areas.
The Directorate of Horticulture, Planning & Marketing will be responsible for on-ground implementation of the project and will serve as the nodal agency for providing unified licensing to potential traders.
The government of Jammu & Kashmir is set to implement this new project that aims to transform the agriculture sector through a multi-faceted approach. This approach includes market reforms, development of infrastructure, and promotion of institutional building and capacity development of Niche Product Marketing FPOs.
Market reforms will bring transparency and fairness in trading practices, genuine price for produce, increase the number of buyers, and fair competition. This will result in an increase in producers’ share in consumer rupee. Infrastructure development will create an efficient and effective market ecosystem, minimize value loss, overcome distress sale, improve logistics, adhere to quality standards, ease of doing business, target unattended geographies, waste to wealth, and minimize environmental pollution.
Private entrepreneurs will be responsible for development of infrastructure, including CA stores, grading lines, mini cold stores, reefer vans and pick-up vans. The Directorate of Horticulture, Planning & Marketing will establish composting units at potential mandies, and also create new mandies in collaboration with the respective District Administrations.
The promotion and support of institutional building and capacity development of Niche Product Marketing FPOs will be done in collaboration with allied departments and Agriculture Universities of the UT. The emphasis will be laid on branding of agriculture produce to promote marketing and competitive advantage of Niche crops. This will also result in scale economies in input and output marketing, operations, bargaining power, contract farming, better terms of trade (ToT), self-reliance, and confidence.
The project will also include the identification, capacity building, and promotion of Rural Business & Service Hubs (RBSHs) across all districts of J&K. This intervention will provide quality inputs/services, improve logistics in management operations, improve yield and quality produce, technology outreach, extension of improved varieties and machines, and market information
A dedicated Market Intelligence Cell will be established at SKUAST-K in collaboration with concerned Departments. The establishment of this Cell will result in creation of decision support system, improved marketing strategy by stakeholders, fairness in trading, more competition, and better policy outcomes. Digital marketing will play a pivotal role in doubling farmers income. It will increase the visibility online and enable potential customers to find agricultural business online. The digital marketing strategy will be more effective in case of niche products from UT of J&K to reach the potential customers across the country and globe.
In order to facilitate online marketing of niche based agri/horti/livestock/fishery/NTFPs, a dedicated web portal may be made operational for online marketing under PPP mode. The portal will be customized for J&K Niche Products for effective marketing strategy.
The proposed project will have both direct and indirect beneficiaries. Direct beneficiaries will include farmers, market functionaries, potential entrepreneurs, employable masses in infrastructure development, and employable masses in value creation. Indirect beneficiaries will include consumers/customers, importers/buyers, outsource sector/industry, and indirect employable masses.
The Government of Jammu and Kashmir has announced a range of incentives aimed at strengthening the state’s market infrastructure. Under the initiative, a 50% capital subsidy will be offered for the establishment of 11 Controlled Atmosphere (CA) stores, each with a capacity of 5000 MT, at a unit cost of Rs. 30.00 cr. In addition, a 50% subsidy will be provided for the establishment of 12 hi-tech grading lines, 275 portable grading lines, reefer vans, pick up vans, and mini cold stores. Four mechanized windrow composting units, 16 simple composting units, and four new mandies will also be established at a cost of Rs. 49.00 cr.
The Institutional Building and Capacity Development component of the project will see 55 Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) established with an investment of Rs. 11.00 cr, and 35 capacity building training programs arranged for FPOs, costing Rs. 1.05 cr. Additionally, two Agriculture and Branding Centers will be established in each division at a cost of Rs. 5.20 cr.
A 50% subsidy will be provided for establishment of 400 Rural Business and Service Hubs, with a ceiling of Rs. 15.00 lakh on each hub. Finally, the infrastructure for digital marketing and market intelligence will be established at a cost of Rs. 11.30 cr. The implementation of these interventions is expected to have a significant impact. The government anticipates that farmers’ income will double from 45% to 90%, while the reduction of value loss is expected to be between 20% and 50%.
The off-season availability of fruits and vegetables is also expected to improve. Value creation is anticipated to increase by 25% to 75%, and there will be an increase in income, value output, employment, reduced food wastage, and an efficient decision support system. As a result, this investment is expected to be highly beneficial.
The project will result in several key outputs, including the establishment of 11 CA stores with a capacity of 55,000 MT, 12 hi-tech grading lines, 25 mini cold stores, four new mandies in Samba, Reasi, Kishtwar, and Bandipora, 400 Rural Business & Service Hubs, two Agri Branding centers, and one Market Intelligence Cell. This project is also expected to create 6,000 jobs and 629 enterprises in the next five years.
In conclusion, the government of Jammu & Kashmir plans to implement a project that aims to transform the agriculture sector through a multi-faceted approach. It will bring transparency and fairness in trading practices, create an efficient and effective market ecosystem, promote institutional building and capacity development of Niche Product Marketing FPOs, and improve digital marketing strategies.