Agricultural Universities in India play a significant role in shaping the human resources, developing technologies and their dissemination. Their role is even more important in hilly areas where technologies need to be specifically developed for the region, keeping in view the small land holdings and the topography. Jammu region of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir is one such region which is endowed with multiple climatic zones ranging from sub-tropical to temperate over an altitudinal variation of about 200 to 6000 m amsl.The varying climates can be potentially used to the advantage of the region by producing multiple types of horticultural and agricultural produce. However, the productivity has remained largely low, when we compare it to the rest of India. One of the reasons is the rainfall dependency of agriculture in near about 70 % of the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir. Rain-water harvesting and micro-irrigation techniques can go a long way in dealing with water scarcity and efficient use of stored water and ultimately enhance productivity in the region. Poor resource use efficiency and availability of quality planting material is another hindrance in the growth of agriculture here. To overcome this, research need to be focused on modern technologies which can enhance the resource use efficiency. The University will strive to implement modern tools, such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, geo-spatial techniques, artificial intelligence etc.that can enhance the overall resource use efficiency. Livestock is an integral part of Jammu and Kashmir’s agrarian economy and provide a multifaceted role in providing livelihood support and nutritional security to the rural population. Research focus would be rejigged to develop cutting edge technologies to increase the animal productivity while mitigating the effects of climate change on livestock productivity. Peri-urban/secondary agriculture is another opportunity that needs to be promoted for overall increase in the income of the farmers and create avenues for agri-entrepreneurship development in the field of Hydroponics; Aeroponics; Vertical Agriculture; Mushroom; Bee Keeping; Fisheries; Dairy; Poultry etc.

Strong linkages need to be developed between the agriculture University and the line departments of the state to address these issues. Strong linkages not only help in effective dissemination of the technologies developed, but also provide grassroot feedback to the University, which would eventually drive future research programmes. Enhancing the farmers’ income is our top most priority. Niche area crops need to be identified and promoted as geographically exclusive commodities such as basmati rice, rajmash, kala-zeera etc. for increased returns to the farming community. Near about 30% of the fruits and vegetables losses occur due to lack of storage and processing facilities. Processing industry is therefore, another area for agri-entrepreneurship that has a lot of scope. With government promoting start-ups, it is now much easier to be an agri-entrepreneur.

The university provides education opportunities in agriculture, veterinary sciences, biotechnology and other applied fields. We hope to promote an entrepreneurship-based Education System with regularstudent-industry interface while providing on campus placement on opportunities to our students. Regular exchange and sandwich programme for graduate and PG students with premier institutions is also under consideration, which will help increase exposure of the students. I feel that incentives to the students is a great way of boosting their morale. Scholarship/Awards for students as well as Faculty will soon be institutionalized.

These are trying times for all of us, with covid-19 impacting our lives severely. Education is one of the worst hit sectors. As of now getting students education on track is our primary concern. We are in the process of creating an ambient digital climate in the campus that will benefit online education dissemination. Social media mediated learning will also be promoted.

I wish everyone good-health and having enrich educational environment back in the campus.

Prof. J.P. Sharma