A Training cum Study Tour of Stakeholders, Officers/Officials of Kathua District was organized by School of Biotechnology, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, at the Herbal Garden – Trikuta Hills established within the University premises under financial assistance received from National Medicinal Plants Board, GoI. The interactive session was organized under the Sub-component “Per Drop More Crop (PDMC)” Centrally Sponsored Scheme on Micro Irrigation under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (CSS PMKSY) Scheme by showcasing the various activities being taken up at the Herbal Garden. Padma Shri (Prof.) Ravindra K. Sinha, Honorable Vice Chancellor, SMVD University appreciated the efforts of School of Biotechnology and the District Agriculture Officer (Ext.), Kathua for taking up this initiative.
The objective was to communicate scientific knowledge among the farmers and participants regarding the importance of especially indigenous and native medicinal plants, their cropping pattern and agro-technological practices to be followed for improvement of produce in the region while adopting modern water conservation techniques. A total of 50 scientific and technical staff under the leadership of Mr. Vijay Kr. Upadhaya, Chief Agriculture Officer, Kathua; 50 farmers, Sarpanchs, Tehsildars from villages of Kathua District participated in the programme.
The visit was coordinated by Dr. Sharada M. Potukuchi, Head, Biotechnology, Project Investigator stressed on the need for water use efficiency of irrigation sources through local water harvesting facilities in rainfed areas for reducing fertilizer usage, labour expenses, and other input costs, besides sustaining soil health and creating awareness for cultivation of indigenous medicinal plants of the region. During the interactive session Dr. Indu Bhushan, Asst. Prof., Biotechnology emphasized on the need for adopting optimum cropping pattern and efficient water application, that utilizes available water resources in an efficient manner. He elaborated on the medicinal uses, importance and cultivation methods of the plant species habituated in the Garden which can be easily adopted by the local farmers for their economic benefit and further dissemination within the villages. Dr. V.K. Dogra, Head, School of Civil Engineering motivated the participants to attend such programs for further dissemination of water management strategies. The farmers also shared experiences about the issues being faced in their respective farmlands and promised to spread the message on the role of water and biodiversity conservation for the protection of the local environment.