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‘Achieving Zero Hunger by 2030’: SKUAST-K holds all-India training programme



National, international experts conduct online sessions

BK News

Srinagar, Aug 28: Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Kashmir held an online all-India training programme on ‘Achieving Zero Hunger by 2030’, in which renowned national and international agriculture and development experts on the subject held sessions.

‘Achieving Zero Hunger’ is a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) set up by the UNDP to end hunger and malnutrition from the world by the year 2030.

The 10-day training was organised by SKUAST-K’s Faculty of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry with support of World Bank-ICAR funded National Agricultural Higher Education Project  (NAHEP) was organised from August 17-28. The training was part of a series of programmes being organised under Institutional Development Plan (IDP) of NAHEPt sanctioned to SKUAST-Kashmir with an aim to transform agricultural education and make SKUAST-K a preferred destination for agricultural higher education in the country.

More than 80 participants from the various agricultural university from across the country participated in the programme. Prof Kadambot Siddique from the University of Western Australia and Dr Nafees Meah, International Rice Research Institute representative for South Asia, Dr Srinivsa Rao, Director ICAR-NAARM, Dr Puja Thiel, Nelis Global Norway, Dr Sila Deb, Additional Commissioner MoHFW, Prof AK Srivastava, Ex-Chairman ASRB, ICAR, Prof Nitya Rao, University of Anglis United Kingdom, Dr Vara Prasad, Kansas State University, Joseph George, UNESCAP, Dr ML Madan Former Vice-Chancellor DUVASU & DDG Animal Sciences ICAR, and many more senior-level government functionaries scientists of national and international repute as well as Deans, Directors and Senior Professors of SKUAST-K delivered lectures and held training sessions.

Vice-Chancellor SKUAST-K Prof Nazeer Ahmed chaired the valedictory function. Prof ZA Pampori, Course Director, presented the report of the training, summarized the 10-day proceedings and outlined the road map for the future. Prof NA Ganai Director Planning and Co-ordinator NAHEP complimented the organisers for organizing the training programme and for roping in the national and international experts. He also outlined the Human Resource Development programmes being carried under Institutional Development Programmes of NAHEP.

Vice-Chancellor Prof. Nazeer Ahmed expressed satisfaction over conduct different online training programmes under NAHEP. He congratulated the organizers and participants on successful completion of the training programme. He expressed a hope that the Knowledge gained during the 10-day training shall be put in practice and all the trainees shall contribute in their respective fields to achieve the national goal of achieving zero hunger by 2030.

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Grassroots innovations for better sericulture



Grassroots innovations for better sericulture
Jasmeena Qadir
Naveed Hamid

Grassroots innovations for better sericulture. Innovation means addressing a new idea, technique or solution to a problem to enhance the efficacy and durability of a system. In agriculture, innovations are the new products, techniques, or strategies developed by research scholars, farmers or organizations to maintain the sustainability of agriculture for its contribution to food security, economic development and natural resource management (FAO, 2019). Sericulture is an agro-based industry that deals with the rearing of silkworms for the production of silk. Sericulture is the greatest labour-intensive sector of the Indian economy and offers a source of livelihood to a major part of the population by providing profitable self-employment to farmers and their families. It requires low investment, a short gestation period with greater income returns and self-employment for small and marginal farmers.

It is regarded as both, an art and science which involves three major components viz., mulberry cultivation, silkworm rearing and post-cocoon processing. It comprises of a series of on-farm and off-farm activities and generates a lot of by-products from each activity directly or indirectly. Sericulture byproducts are developed as alternative options to the food industry, drug system biomedical engineering and textiles. Silkworm pupa being proteinaceous has a wide range of applications in dietetics, animal food, cosmetics and fertilizers (Jaiswal et al., 2020). Sericulture is inter-connected and inter-related with agricultural crops viz., biogas production, livestock production, aquaculture, horticulture etc. Wastes in sericulture are generated in bulk in each activity and can be exploited for biofuel, biogas, livestock production and mushroom cultivation. Seri- bio waste viz., surplus leaf, bed-refuse from silkworm rearing activity can be used for cattle and sheep fodder. The integrated system of sericulture farming with agriculture and other allied fields stimulates maximum exploitation of bio-resources of each system with the reduction in its adverse effects on the environment. Nothing is a waste in sericulture and can be potentially exploited in other sectors which promotes sustainable development and prosperity of small enterprises of other sectors. Sericulture fulfills the employment to 8.8 million people in India (CSB report, 2023) and identified by researchers and policymakers as a potential hub for socio-economic development.


  1. Mulberry cultivation:

Grassroots innovations for better sericultureMulberry is propagated mainly through stem cuttings. The manual preparation for cuttings requires many skilled labors. The cutting preparation machine which makes 1400-1500 cuttings in one hour has been developed by CSRTI Mysore. Mulberry leaf harvest and disposal at the place where silkworm rearing is being conducted is time consuming and laborious process. Mulberry plant cutter” which uses a holder to hold the plant and a cutter to cut the plant has been developed. It is movable, simple, convenient and farmer friendly machinery. CSRTI Mysore have developed paired row and 3M plantation system to accommodate more number of mulberry bushes and mechanized practices evolved. It reduces cost of leaf production and working efficiency faster. Different equipments have been developed for ease in intercultural operations viz., Power Rotavator, Cultivator and Weeder. These are cost-effective and convenient for use in different mulberry plantation systems such as., pit system, row system and tree or bush plantation system. Disease and pest control is important for healthy mulberry production. Different sprayers have been developed by different institutes viz., self-propelled sprayer, power tiller mounted sprayer by CSRTI and TNAU respectively. Many technological innovations have been developed for the control of mulberry diseases viz., Navinya, Nemahari (Plant based formulation), Raksha (Talc-based biofungicide) and root-fix for control of root-rot and root knot diseases of mulberry. Azotobacter biofertilizer (Azotobacter chrococum bioformulation) is being effectively used as a nitrogenous fertilizer in mulberry.

Grassroots innovations for better sericulture.

  1. Innovations in silkworm rearing

Silkworm rearing is the mass scale rearing of silkworms for production of silk (Vijayakumar et al., 2007). Both on-farm and off-farm activities imparts greater employment potential feasible for women fork of the rural society as well. However, need of technological developments asserts higher silk production with better income to farming people. Contemporary sericulture has been advanced by the implementation of novel technological innovations at farm and industry level to enhance the silk productivity (Singh et al., 2021). The growth and development of silkworm is influenced by environmental factors. Therefore, the maintenance of environmental parameters as per requisites of silkworm health is a bit challenging process. However, the potential performance of novel innovations viz., Arduino aided Internet of Things (IoT), image processing technique and smart sensors of technological innovation is appraised as a master stroke key to the problem. It is simple, convenient and cost-effective solution to achieve successful cocoon crop production (Rokhade et al., 2021). One more innovation, is the development of Internet of Things (IoT) empowered Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN) system using sensors for monitoring of environmental factors according to recognized different life cycle stages and capturing photos simultaneously to achieve the improvement in series of life cycle stages in silkworm (Nivaashini et al., 2018). Many models have been proposed time to time based on Internet of things (IoT) for the development of smart sericulture technology to promote sericulture (Srinivas et al., 2019; Sreedhar et al., 2020; Eethamakula et al., 2020; Jeegadeesan et al., 2021). In the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, there are three different agro-climatic zones viz., temperate, intermediate (lies between temperate and sub-tropical) and sub-tropical zone. Therefore, there is need of different mulberry cultivars, cultivation practices and silkworm breeds which are specific to different agro-climatic regions. The development of region specific silkworm is of prior importance to revive sericulture industry in Jammu and Kashmir. Fortification of mulberry leaves with proteins and other supplements is a latest technique to enhance the cocoon production. It employs use of different plant or animal based products rich in proteins more particularly to feed the silkworm larvae (Qadir et al., 2022 a). A chawki leaf chopper for chopping the mulberry leaf in thin slices for consumption of young age larvae have been developed. An artificial silkworm diet known as “Nutrid” have been developed for healthy and vigorous growth of silkworms. CSRTI Mysore, have developed a device which acts as both heater and humidifier as per requirement of rearing room. Collection of matured larvae and their mounting on mountage is a laborious process. A plant based hormone which comprises of photoecdysone known as “Sampoorna” have been developed for early and uniform maturation of silkworms. A device which picks and separates matured silkworms from mulberry twigs in shoot system of rearing and from trays in tray system of rearing have been developed with almost negligible injury risk to silkworms. Disinfection is the foremost operation to be carried before commencement of silkworm rearing to maintain the pathogen-free environment for silkworm. An ecofriendly and cost-effective tool which employs the use of fire-flames and LPG as fuel known as flame-gun, have been developed to disinfect the incubation, rearing, leaf, cocoon storage room and rearing equipments. Many bed-disinfectants have been developed such as., labex, Ladhoi, Jeevan- Sudha, Resham Jyoti, RKO, Sericillin, Ankush, Vijetha, Amruth to defend the disease causing pathogens in silkworm rearing. Manual dusting of bed-disinfectants is unsafe for applier. CSRTI Mysore have developed power/battery operated duster which evenly speads the disinfectants over the silkworm body on trays in less time.Pest control can be achieved by application of uzitrap, uzicide etc to control the major pest, Exorista bombycis in silkworm rearing. Plastic tray washing machine possesses efficiency of washing 120 trays/hr with complete disinfection are developed to save the labour charges and time in silkworm rearing.

  1. Innovations in post-cocoon sector

The collection and separation of cocoons from cocoon frames is laborious and time consuming process. The development of handle/ pedal operated cocoon harvesting machine used for harvesting from 25-50 frames/hr and 50-60 frames/hr from hand operated and pedal operated harvester respectively. Deflossing is the process of removing floss layer of the cocoon. Manual deflossing is time consuming process and requires labour. Cocoon deflossing machines viz., hand operated, hand operated cum motorized and fully motorized which can defloss 25-30 kg/hr, 50-60 kg/hr and 75-80 kg/hr respectively have been developed. In grainages, an ample quantity of cocoon needs to be cut for sex determination of pupae and estimation of quantity parameters such cocoon weight, shell weight and shell ratio. Cocoon cutting machine have been developed with efficiency of cutting 5000 cocoons/hr have been developed. Cocoon boiling or cooking is the process of boiling the cocoons to soften the sericin layer for smooth unwinding of silk fibre from the cocoon. It is mostly carried by simple cooking either in a single-pan system or in a three-pan system at different temperatures. These methods render the cocoons either over-boiled or under-boiled which are unsuitable for the reeling process. A new technique “Vacuum boiling machine” has been developed in which the uniform softening of all the layers is attained with better reelability. Metallic buttons are non-circular stainless steel devices used as thread guides with required specifications as that of yarn size, have been developed to avoid slubs in yarn and can be used for a comparatively longer time.


Sericulture being the labour-intensive sector provides a source of profitable self-employment to a large number of the Indian population. Labour wages cost about 65-70% of the total cocoon produced from different sectors of sericulture in India. Hence reduction in labour dependency will ultimately reduce the production costs. The farming technicality in each sector of sericulture is the need of the hour. Innovations play a prominent role in accomplishing the goal. The novel ideas related to different approaches, appliances, and techniques connected with farming people can be explored in developing sericulture. Investment in technology, promotion of technologies and conduction of training programs can contribute to improving the competence in sericulture. The acceptance of challenges and adoption of innovations can lead to developments in sericulture.

Naveed Hameed is CEO, SKIIE Centre, SKUAST-K

Jasmeena Qadir has PhD in Sericulture

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Exploring untapped opportunities of Agri-tech startups in Jammu and Kashmir



Agri-tech startups
Mohammad Sarwat Hassnain Alam Khan
Naveed Hamid

Agri-tech startups have a crucial and emerging role in the development of the agriculture sector. They can be used to incorporate various technological developments like data analytics and IoT to improve crop yield, reduce wastage and streamline the agricultural supply chain.

In the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, agriculture has a leading and important role in the development and improvement of the economy of the region. Approximately, 70% of the population of the UT is directly or indirectly dependent on this sector. The region with this rich agricultural heritage is primarily dependent on traditional agricultural practices. Yet, the region faces several challenges, including limited access to modern farming techniques and a lack of infrastructure and resources to boost productivity. Irrespective of these hurdles there is a good untapped potential in the Agri-tech startups to flourish. Agri-tech startups have the potential to address these challenges and transform the agricultural landscape of Jammu and Kashmir. They can bring innovative solutions leveraging technology, data analytics, and modern farming techniques. Some of the untapped opportunities they can explore in the region are:

  1. Precision Framing: Agri-tech startups can introduce modern techniques like drone technology, satellite imagery, IoT IoT-based devices to improve and monitor soil health, crop quality and yield, and reduce resource wastage. Various technologies that can be used are:
  • GPS and GIS technologies will help farmers create detailed maps of their field including positioning of the equipment, soil types, nutrient levels and other relevant spatial information.
  • Remote Sensing, sensors, telematics and IoT including technologies like drones, satellites, moisture and crop health sensors provide real-time data like crop health, crop status, environmental and overall field conditions, and remote access to machinery.
  • Variable Rate Technology (VRT) systems can be used to enable farmers to adjust application rates of fertilisers, pesticides and irrigation.
  • Several other new aged technologies including blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning modules and algorithms can help in upskilling the agricultural sector in the region.
  1. Smart Market Linkages: Development and designing of smart and intelligent platforms and supply chains, that can connect farmers directly to the market without any intermediaries can help boost farmer incomes and reduce post-harvest losses. Although, many Agri-tech platforms like Kisan Mandi and the government-led initiative of Kisan Suvidha are available to connect farmers to the market, but have not catered for much of the usage among the farmers of the UT.
  2. Educational Initiatives: Agri-tech startups can also develop applications and platforms that can make farmers aware of the new technologies and practices to promote technological advancement and upskilling of farmers in the region.

There is a compelling need to tap into these underutilized Agri-tech startups for several reasons. Seizing these prospects within Agri-tech startups holds the potential to bring about a substantial positive transformation in the region’s agriculture. The entrepreneurs venturing into the field of Agri-tech can find a good market of opportunities in Jammu and Kashmir. This endeavour offers the opportunity to diversify the economy, reduce dependency on volatile sectors, and create employment avenues. Moreover, this startup can address pressing agricultural challenges, enhance productivity, and increase farmers’ income. Embracing sustainability aligns with global trends and positions your venture as an eco-friendly and responsible contributor to the agricultural landscape in the region.

Strategies to encash the real treasure of Agri Tech Startups 

The younger entrepreneurs venturing into Agri-tech startups need to take these suggestions and inputs in consideration for the growth and development of their ventures. First and foremost is skill, creativity and out-of-the-box mindset. Gather adequate knowledge and expertise essential for the venture and understand the need and applications of above mentioned untapped opportunities in the field. Furthermore, try to develop partnerships, connections and engagements with the associations, institutes, Incubators and government agencies for the concerned field as they can be an invaluable source of support and resources, enhancing the prospectus of success. Also, seeking funds from government schemes and private investors interested in supporting Agri-tech ventures and securing the necessary capital pivotal for the growth of the startup. Lastly, craft the Agri-tech solutions that are economically and practically accessible to the farming community aligning with their unique requirements and aspirations.


 Agri-tech startups have the potential to transform agriculture in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir. These startups can contribute to the economic development of the Union Territory and improve the livelihoods of the farming community. Also, the convergence of Agri-tech startups and precision farming practices promises a brighter future for the farmer community, the Union Territory, and entrepreneurs in Jammu & Kashmir. As these innovative practices are embraced, the region can emerge as a beacon of how technology can transform traditional agriculture, ushering in a new era of prosperity and development.

There are a number of incubators in India to support Agri-tech startups but in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, SKUAST Kashmir Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship Centre, one of the brands in incubation is working to build up an ecosystem of Agri-Tech based startups by supporting them in every aspect.

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Trout Fish Farming in Kashmir: A Thriving Industry



Trout Fish Farming in Kashmir
Dhaar Mehak
Shahid Sareer

Trout fish though indigenous to the region of Kashmir wasn’t harnessed commercially for a very long time. Steadily in the recent past, trout fish farming has emerged as a crucial and flourishing industry in the Kashmir region. The serene valleys and pristine water bodies of Kashmir provide an ideal environment for trout fish farming, making it a significant source of income for the local population. This article explores the history, growth, equipment, costs, and case studies related to trout fish farming in Kashmir, shedding light on its importance and impact on the local economy.

Trout fish farming is a form of pisciculture, which involves the commercial breeding of the Trout fish, primarily for food. This aquaculture practice is a controlled cultivation and harvesting of aquatic animals, in this case, trout, in an artificial environment. The key to successful trout farming in Kashmir is providing these cold-water fish with the right conditions, including running water and temperatures ranging between 0 to 20 degrees Celsius. Given the fact that Trout fish have delicate bones that are easy to remove in addition to high protein content, it is preferred over other type of fish for consumption.

The history of Trout farming in Kashmir is unique and fascinating. The first batch of Trout Ova, consisting of 10,000 eggs, arrived in Kashmir in 1899 from the United Kingdom as a gift from the Duke of Bedford to the then Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. However, this initial batch perished during transit due to the absence of air transport. The second shipment from Scotland in 1900 was successful, and it marked the beginning of Trout farming in Kashmir. A portion of the fry was transferred to various locations around Srinagar, while some were reared in a private carpet factory owner’s premises in the heart of the city.

From there the growth was steady yet persistent and the Trout fish farming steadily became endemic to the region of Kashmir. Over the years, Trout farming in Kashmir has witnessed significant growth. The region’s Brown Trout attracts anglers and plays a vital role in the tourism industry. The Rainbow Trout, on the other hand, is reared for commercial purposes. A notable development is the distribution of Trout Ova to other states like Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Uttarakhand for local rearing has been taking place during the past few years.

As per the information publicised by the Fisheries department of Jammu and Kashmir, the government and private farms in the Kashmir region produce approximately 600 tonnes of trout annually, with a value exceeding Rs13 crore. The production has witnessed a steady rise over the years with no dip noted as such in alignment with the general industrial and output outcomes of the region. It has further been validated that a targeted focus on this industry has the potential to uplift thousands of households who can benefit from such cultivations. At the same time, given the global market potential the scope of growth has been projected even more rewarding.

The economic advantages of developing a sustainable and widespread Trout fish industry in the Kashmir region are quite a few. One of the main benefits has been in the form of realized income from this venture. Benefitting from the imitation effect, Trout farming has emerged as a vital source of income for the local population of the region especially the areas outside the city spheres. This industry has not only come to the support of the livelihood of farmers but has been steadily contributing significantly to the region’s economy over the course of past few decades.

The high-quality protein contents of the Trout fish has been one the main attractions behind its growing popularity. The farmed trout provides high-quality protein for human consumption which is unmatched by the substitutes available in the market. The fish meat is rich in digestible proteins, vitamins, minerals, and essential fats, including Omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for health. Given its popularity amongst the locals, the national and international market for its processed forms is quite envision-able. Trout fish farming has the potential to be integrated into the existing farms, allowing farmers to diversify their income sources and improve water management. This integration enhances the overall sustainability of the farm along with marketability and commercialization.

Given the region and the type of water, the farmers have the flexibility to choose fish species with desired characteristics for raising and thus enhancing the profitability of their farms. To establish a Trout fish farm, there are some pre-requisites and requirements that need to be met a-priori. A controlled fish pond is the basic necessity to begin a rearing Trout farm. The pond needs to be designed in a scientifically informed manner in order to provide a suitable environment for the fish to survive and thrive. Trout fish survive only in the fresh water of a certain temperature range. As such, for both the survival of the Trout fish and to maintain the quality of their meat it is necessary that the appropriate temperature is maintained throughout and thoroughly. To provide the essential nutrients to the fish, it is again essential to feed them the prescribed nutrient-rich fish food.

Farmed Trout fish take around nine to twenty months to reach the marketable size. The average annual costs associated with trout farming in Kashmir include feed costs (approx. Rs.132,130), Chemical and medicines requirements (approx. Rs.25,000), Electricity costs (approx. Rs.12,000), Transportation and oxygen costs (approx. Rs.5,000), human labour costs (approx. Rs.7,500) along with the contingency and miscellaneous costs (approx. Rs.5,000). However, the main consideration for setting up a Trout fish farm is the land requirement. The land required for Trout fish farming varies depending on the scale of operations. A minimum of 50 acres is recommended for a local agriculturist. However, semi-intensive farming can be started on a smaller scale with just a few acres of land. The costs of land vary depending on the location, with remote areas having lower land prices compared to the urban ones.

On the realized front, several individuals in the Kashmir region have found success and economic stability through trout fish farming. Hamidullah Khanday of South Kashmir’s Verinag area for example is a success story. He started his fish farm in 2010 and now sells Trout fish worth Rs 20 lakh to Rs 25 lakhs annually, producing 2400 kgs of fish per year. Khanday’s journey in fish farming began after participating in an awareness program organized by the Fisheries Department, which provided financial support, seed, and feed on 100% subsidy. Trout farming has not only transformed the lives of individual farmers but also provided employment opportunities for the local population, addressing the issue of unemployment in the region. The success stories of individuals like Hamidullah Khanday showcase the potential of trout farming as a viable, lucrative and sustainably remunerating industry specific to the region of Kashmir.

The authors are affiliated to the Department of Economics, Islamic University of Science and Technology and can be reached at


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