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Nepal Technologists delegation visits Jammu to study

Jammu, October 23 (Scoop News)- A fifteen member delegation of Agricultural Technologists from Nepal arrived on a 2 day visit to Jammu to study the strategies and technological interventions adopted by the State Agriculture Department to boost the production of maize in the State. This delegation came in the wake of reports of an expected bumper crop of maize in the State largely due to effective measures taken by the Department of Agriculture to transfer hybrid seed technology amongst farmers of the State.
The delegation, led by Dr. Bishnu Datta Awasthi, Deputy Director General, Technology Transfer and Coordination, Department of Agriculture, Nepal visited the Directorate of Agriculture Jammu for an extensive interaction on the technical interventions made by the Directorate for yield and quality augmentation of maize crop in the region with Director Agriculture Jammu and other officers and experts of the Department besides making field visits and participation in a multi-stakeholders workshop organized by Indian Maize Development Association (IMDA). The visit, sponsored by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Nepal Economic Agriculture & Trade (NEAT) Activity Project in partnership with Govt. of Nepal, Monsanto India for Maize dissemination aims at improving productivity, production & farm income. The project also aims at promotion of market linkages including feed & processing industries, promoting knowledge sharing, linkages & networks for integrated interventions & enhancing the National Capacity of Research & Development Institutions for sustainability.
During the interaction, Dr. Bishnu Datta Awasthi indicated that the State of J&K had been selected for the visit in consultation with USAID due to similarities in agro-climatic conditions and alaso because of reports that the State is making tremendous leaps in its efforts to increase agricultural productivity in boosting the production of maize in Jammu. He added that the achievements and experiences made in Jammu would be of considerable value to Nepal’s agriculture and economy. He gave a detailed account of the Agriculture Scenario in Nepal with special reference to the status of Maize which is the second most important crop after Paddy in the country. While recognizing the achievements made in Indian Agriculture & correlating several similarities including the range of crops & agro-environments in the two countries the members of the delegation observed that technological achievements & experiences in Jammu division of J&K State would be of considerable significance to help agricultural production & address food security and livelihoods of people as the sociology and topography of the two Himalayan regions was much similar. The prevailing extension structure, the seed certification and quality control systems were also discussed.
The delegation included Dr. Saroj Pokhrel, Programme Director and Ms. Niru Dahal, Sr. Agronomist of the Crop Development Directorate besides other senior officers of Seed Quality Control Centre, Nepal Agriculture Research Council, Agro Enterprise Centre, Seed Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal , Nepal Feed Industry & Association, Chaudhary Group Seeds and District Agriculture Development Officers of Nepal.
Welcoming the delegation, the Director of Agriculture Shri Ajay Khajuria, gave a detailed account of initiatives & interventions made by the Directorate of Agriculture Jammu in recent years for enhancing Maize production. He said that the basic strategy of the Department was to evaluate & identify the most suitable location specific varieties and hybrids of the maize crops & introduce the outstanding ones in the maximum possible area to realize the optimum yield potential.
He said that some of the varieties had shown exceptionally good performance in specific areas with respect to disease & pest resistance, tolerance to lodging, higher productivity, grain quality & fodder value were being propagated. He said that programmes for popularizing Hybrid Maize had been launched in specific areas on pilot project basis land it was expected that while the acceptance of hybrid maize among farmers shall increase substantially in the coming years the overall productivity & production shall increase by more than 25% and in case of areas adopted Hybrids for the first time it may double during the current year itself.
The Joint Director of Agriculture (Inputs) Shri V.K.Bhakhri dwelt on the hybrids & varieties being used in the region and stated that under Integrated Scheme for development, Oilseeds, Pulses, Oil palm & Maize (ISOPOM) incentives were provided to farmers for purchase of seed , layout of demonstration plots, distribution of minikits for popularization of elite varieties, training of farmers through plant protection measures & provision of machinery, equipments etc.
Ashok Malhotra, Deputy Director of Agriculture (Central), Sudesh Koul, Deputy Director of Agriculture, C.M.Sharma, Subject Matter Specialist and other officers of the Department of Agriculture Jammu also shared their views during the meeting. Monsanto was represented by Ms. Juhi Gupta, Manager Corporate Affairs. Earlier during the multi-stakeholders workshop organized by Indian Maize Development Association a power point presentation was made by the Jt. Director of Agriculture Extension Jammu Dr. S.S.Jamwal in which the maize crop production scenario and scope was described in detail.
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