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SKUAST-K reshaping agricultural education for innovation, entrepreneurship

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SKUAST-K reshaping agricultural education

V-C takes review of World Bank-funded IDP project 

Srinagar, May 23: Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Kashmir Saturday held a meeting to review the progress of the World Bank-ICAR funded National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP) awarded for the institutional development of the university in 2019. The project is aimed to reshape agricultural education for innovation and entrepreneurship at the university.
The meeting was chaired by Vice-Chancellor, SKUAST-K Prof JP Sharma. This was the first meeting to assess the progress of the flagship project after Prof Sharma took charge as the VC of the university.
The three-year project is aimed to develop SKUAST-K as a model agricultural higher education institution and build next-generation human capital to drive the knowledge-based and technology-driven agri-economy of Jammu and Kashmir and the country. With the help of the NAHEP, SKUAST-K aims to become a preferred destination of agri-education for creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, besides the hardcore research and extension.
In his address, Vice-Chancellor Prof JP Sharma said all the workshops and training programmes conducted under the NAHEP should train students and help farmers in enterprise building, provide the linkages with the industry and handhold them through the various processes required for starting up.
Prof Sharma said as the university under the NAHEP has a particular focus on the skill-building of the students to make them innovators, entrepreneurs, and job-ready for the new-age industries, the upcoming innovation, incubation and entrepreneurship centre, and artificial intelligence centre at the university should be the state-of-the-art facilities not available elsewhere in Jammu and Kashmir. While lauding the PI NAHEP and other team members of the project for their marvellous work despite facing several roadblocks, he hoped that the university will achieve all the milestones set under the project.
SKUAST-K’s Director Planning and Monitoring and Principal Investigator of NAHEP, Prof Nazir Ahmad Ganai, gave a detailed overview of the project.
He said the Institutional Development Plan (IDP) of SKUAST-K seeks to link agricultural education with employment, entrepreneurship, and leadership, besides building resilient and environmentally sustainable infrastructure.
Talking about the progress of the project, he said despite facing the COVID19 pandemic, restriction on the internet and other problems, the university under the project organised 523 national and international training programmes and events, and 1200 online webinars in which more than 10,000 students participated during the financial year 2020-21. Also, about 750 student competitions, MOOC tests, quizzes and other such programmes, he said, were conducted during the said period. The university won 44 awards, secured three patents, and signed 12 MoUs with the reputed national and international universities and institutions as well as industry leaders. The university also won two innovation awards from BIRAC, Government of India. Under the NAHEP, the university organised 38 national and international faculty training programmes. During the period, three university students have started their agri-startups.
HRM Consultant Prof Farooq Ahmad Zaki gave an overview of the university collaborations. SKUAST-K under the project is collaborating with various institutions within the country and outside to provide students better research opportunities and exposure, he said, adding it is also fostering industry linkages to develop market-oriented human resources for facing the challenges of 21 century.
Dr Parvaiz Sofi, associate professor and a coordinator of NAHEP talked about the parallelism between the IDP of SKUAST-K and National Education Policy (NEP). Dr Farhanaz Rasool, in charge innovation and entrepreneurship cell, gave a detailed overview of the various entrepreneurship and skill programmes.  Dr Sameera Qayoom conducted the proceedings of the programme.
Dean Forestry Prof Tariq Masoodi, Associate Dean Prof AM Baqal, Associate Director Research Prof Azmat Alam Khan, Prof Raihanan Habib Kanth, Prof Imtiyaz Tahir Nazki, Dr Gohar Bilal Wani, IDP-NAHEP team members, and other staff members of the SKUAST-K were also present in the meeting

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AgriBiz

Digital marketing skill training for agri-startups commences at SKUAST-K

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Digital marketing skills
BK News

Srinagar, Dec 5: A weeklong advanced management development programme (AMDP) on ‘Digital Marketing Skills for Agri-Startups’ commenced on Monday at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir Shalimar campus.

The seven-day digital marketing training is organised by SKUAST-K’s School of Agricultural Economics and Horti-Business Management, Faculty of Horticulture under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sponsorship.

Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-K, Prof Nazir Ahmad Ganai, who was the chief guest at the inaugural function, emphasised upon outcome-based delivery of the programme and suggested that each participant should be evaluated in each session to ensure better assimilation of the content. Pointing out the existence of a 95% unskilled labour force, he stressed the need for required digital skills. He informed that SKUAST-K will be shortly starting the three-month programme on Digital Marketing in collaboration with DMI, Australia. He asked the participants to take full advantage of the resource persons, who have come from the reputed institutions of the country like IITs.

Director, Planning and Monitoring, Prof Haroon Rashid Naik emphasized imparting precision to the conduct of Advanced-MDP and desired industrial representation and participation in these programmes.

Dean, Faculty of Horticulture, Prof Shabir Ahmad Wani highlighted the need for encouragement of gender-based digital spaces. He also stressed the need for the utilisation of digital spaces for farm-based products.

Head, School of Agricultural Economics and Horti-Business Management, Prof SH Baba, in his welcome address, gave an overview of the programme. He brought out the need for acquiring high-end digital and IT skills for switching to new market jobs by 2030-31 in view of apprehension of job losses due to automation.

Assistant Director, MSME Development and Facilitation Office Srinagar Branch, Ministry of MSME, Saheel Yaqoob Allaqband, who addressed the gathering via online mode, gave a brief account on the importance of Advanced-MDP suggested that the participants should be trained in innovative DPR formulation and attract funding options for their business units.

SKUAST-K’s Director Extension Prof Dil Mohammad Makhdoomi, Director Education Prof MN Khan, Director Research Prof Sarfaraz Ahmad Wani and many other HOD and officers of the university were present at the occasion. The organising secretary of the programme, Dr Omar Fayaz Khan, presented the vote of thanks.

About 30 participants from FPOs, food processing units, Agri-supply chains, aspiring agripreneurs and students are participating in the training.

Under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), SKUAST-K is conducting 66 advanced skill development courses for entrepreneurship in various agricultural and allied vocations.

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AgriBiz

Can kiwi cultivation prove alternative to apple production in Kashmir?

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Can kiwi cultivation prove alternative to apple production in Kashmir?

Dhaar Mehak M

Misbah Bashir

The horticulture sector is seen as the backbone of the Kashmir economy steadily replacing the tourism sector in terms of sustainability and future prospectus. Given the environmental feasibility, Kashmir has been identified as one of India’s most dynamic horticulture hotspots. During the final decades of the 20th century, the region of Kashmir has seen a steady shift from paddy cultivation to apple cultivation. For quite some time the output and outcomes from the orchards of Kashmir have been high. This has ushered in a wave of optimism and people have been heavily investing in high-yielding apple varieties. More or less on an annual basis, people have revealed satisfaction with the outcomes.

Can kiwi cultivation prove alternative to apple production in Kashmir?

The year 2022 has been identified as a bumper year of apple production in Kashmir (apart from other horticulture products). The apple blooms in spring were studied and identified by the experts where it was predicted that the year from across the valley was going to deliver a bumper crop. A wave of happiness ad optimism ran in the supply chain from orchardists to the dealers. Given the demand and pricing trends of previous years, the expected outcomes from 2022 were anticipated to surpass the mean value of the previous decades by a double-digit. However, as the output was ready and entered the market, the returning price was the lowest registered in the previous decade. Among many other factors, a predominant factor behind this was the bulk Indian import of Iranian and Turkish Apples that captured the market and wiped out the demand for Kashmiri apples.

Looking through an alternative economic and horticultural lens, the complete reliance on apples as the sole and dominant outcome of the horticulture sector in Kashmir is a risk of putting all the eggs in one basket. The first step to diversification has been identified as a steady production of kiwi fruit. In contemporary times the only state that is producing kiwis in India is Himachal Pradesh. Lately, Himachal orchardists have realized that diversification is important, and the immediate consequence has been a steady shift to kiwi production. The environmental conditions in both Himachal and Kashmir are equally preferable for kiwi production.

Can kiwi cultivation prove alternative to apple production in Kashmir?The plantation season for kiwi trees is February and March, while the irrigation season is May to July. The plantation takes much less land space than the apple trees. Vegetables and other seasonal crops can be grown in-between the kiwi tress. There are no pesticides of any kind needed for kiwi plantations while on the other hand the apples of all types highly rely on a number of pesticides, insecticides and herbicides. This quality makes kiwis organic in nature, better fitting the contemporary market demand. The overall maintenance of kiwi plantations is much easier and cheaper as compared to that of apples. At the same time, the demand and prices for kiwis in the local, national and international markets is much stable as compared to that of apples.

In the first week of November the average price of 18 kgs of Apples in Sopore Mandi peaked at Rs.350 which doesn’t even cover the half basic price of production. Quite contrary to this, one unit of kiwi costs Rs.35 in the local market and one kiwi plant yields 70 kg of kiwis on an average. One kg of dried Kiwis costs Rs.1800 in the market. And the demand for kiwis is very high both in the national and the international markets.

At the moment, SKUAST-K is actively researching in the direction of improvising the kiwi plantation suitable specifically to the Kashmir region. Simultaneously, sale of the kiwi trees is carried-out from time to time. Lately a small number of orchardists from the Baramulla and Sopore area of North Kashmir have been steadily diversifying towards kiwi production. However, during their experimental stages, they are more than happy with their outcomes. The market value of the output has been promising and so is the durability of the output. The kiwi packaging however is different from that of the apple packages and the kiwi farmers of Kashmir complain that at the moment they are not able to find the required packaging solutions.

Can kiwi cultivation prove alternative to apple production in Kashmir?Putting all these factors together, kiwi production can be the next big horticulture venture of Kashmir. Risk minimisation is the first and far most expected benefit from this diversification. If due to some market fluctuations, apples fail to fetch the required price in the market the kiwi market can come to cushion and minimize the damage and losses. The second expected spill-over of kiwi diversification can come in the form of growth in the local corrugated industry. In the present time, the Kashmir corrugation industry mostly specializes in the production of apple boxes. However, with the growth of kiwi production, the corrugation industry will get to diversify and increase its output and employment potential. The cold-store industry of Kashmir is also expected to grow with the growth of kiwi production as the local producers can control the market supplies from time to time in light of the expected profits. The kiwi processing units also have a very high potential of starting up in the region.

 

The authors are affiliated to the Department of Economics, Islamic University of Science and Technology Awantipora & can be reached at [email protected] & misb[email protected]

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AgriBiz

Integrated Farming System

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Integrated Farming System

Kupwara woman runs profitable farm business with KVK assistance

Aijaz Ahmad Dar
Kaiser Mohiuddin Malik

Somia Sadaf, a native of Kupwara’s Batargam area has started her own dairy business. Sadaf has 10 Holliston Friesan and Jersey cows, 25 Kanal of irrigation land, and 200 Keystone Golden birds with technical help from Krishi Vigyan Kendra Kupwara. She uses a lawn cutter to maintain her property of land and cows.

Somia has also given instruction in the scientific raising and management of cows. She keeps herself up to date about new technologies regarding the maintenance of her land and the marketing of milk. She receives technical assistance for livestock illness management in order to optimise the production of milk and poultry. KVK continually performs and monitors the vaccination and deworming of animals at her farms.

Integrated Farming System

KVK has provided all assistance necessary to set up vermicompost pits so that cow manure is turned into a more lucrative vermicompost. Red worms have also been supplied by KVK for the pits. For additional revenue creation, KVK has also assisted in establishing 200 Keystone Golden-based backyard poultry farm. She has recently started fish farming under the NRLM. Somia’s farming is the best example of an integrated farming system, which can serve as a model for the rest of the farm women.

She manages to sell 150 kg of milk every day worth Rs 6,000. She collects 150 eggs and sells 100 eggs daily. Her daily poultry revenue is Rs 1500 and her daily net income is Rs 7500.

Her marketing plan includes selling products at Kisan Melas hosted by SKUAST Kashmir or the line departments, as well as supplying milk to nearby hotels and neighbours and eggs to neighbourhood clients.

Over the course of her entrepreneurial venture, her family has consistently supported her.

“Support from the family is highly commendable when it comes to managing and feeding cows,” says Somia.

Her accomplishment is partly a result of Krishi Vigyan Kendra in Kupwara’s ongoing technical assistance and supervision.

She was honoured with the district, state, national level and National Rural Livelihood Mission-related certifications, medals, prizes, nominations, and recognition as a successful woman entrepreneur.

Additionally, she has trained 200 farm women in knitting.

Integrated Farming System

Department of Animal Husbandry, Government of J&K, and Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Kupwara, strengthen and encourage self-motivation in her to set up and run a livestock-based business.

 

Dr Kaiser Mohiuddin Malik is the head of KVK Kupwara and Dr Aijaz Ahmad Dar is an assistant professor of veterinary medicine at the Directorate of Planning and Monitoring, SKUAST-K

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