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Lockdown no bar, Jammu region expects bumper crop this season: Agri dept


Press Trust of India Jammu
The Department of Agriculture (DoA) on Tuesday ruled out any major impact of the nationwide lockdown on harvesting of rabi crops across the Jammu division and said the region is expecting a bumper crop this season.
A senior government official on Tuesday said over two dozen wheat procurement centres are being set up to facilitate the farmers to sell their produce.
Director Agriculture,Jammu division, Inder Jeet also said they have already started distribution of seeds and made available sufficient fertilizers for the upcoming kharif season to ensure that the farming community does not face any problem.
"The harvesting is going on smoothly and we are expecting a bumper wheat crop this season owing to good rainfall," the officer told PTI.
He said a total of 24 wheat procurement centres are being set up in Kathua, Samba and Jammu districts to facilitate the farmers to sell their produce at the Minimum Support Prices (MSP) of Rs 1,925 fixed by the central government. The Jammu division comprises 10 districts including these three, which account for major agricultural products.
With the advent of harvesting season, the Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, K K Sharma on Monday inaugurated two such centres at village Keso Mansa in Ramgrah block of Samba district and Sohanjana in Mandal Phallan block in Jammu district.
The centres are opened by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) with the support of the Agriculture department to ensure minimum price to the farmers and prevention of distress sale or exploitation in the hands of private players.
"We have taken all steps in time to ensure that the lockdown does not have any adverse impact on the farming activities. To overcome the non-availability of migrant labourers (due to the lockdown), we have deployed more machinery and utilized the available resources in a judicious manner to ensure that the harvesting of the crop is smooth," Inder Jeet said.
The Director Agriculture said his department facilitated smooth movement of dozens of combine harvesters from neighbouring Punjab and also made available four of its combine harvesters to the farmers on subsidy under various government schemes.
"We are directly monitoring the deployment of the machinery and fulfilling all the requirements of the farmers," he said.
Besides putting locally available 15 combine harvesters and 40 reapers or reaper-cum-binders, the department has facilitated entry of over 20 harvesters from Punjab through 24/7 facilitation centre established at Lakhanpur.
Keeping upcoming kharif season in mind, he said, the department has already started distributing various kinds of seeds such as vegetable, oil, fodder, hybrid maize and paddy among the farmers despite the prevailing situation in the wake of COVID-19.
"We have already distributed 50 per cent seeds among the farmers. Some seeds were available with us, some were procured, tested and certified and then dispatched to the districts for distribution. Our field staff ensured the delivery of the seeds and even went door-to-door at some hilly places to distribute Maize seed," Inder Jeet said.
He requested the farmers to follow the advisories issued from time-to-time while working in the fields or going to the procurement centres, insisting that the social distancing is the key to combating coronavirus.
The director asserted that sufficient fertilizers are available with the government.

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First Published: Apr 28 2020 | 3:06 PM IST

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