Srinagar: In a bid to encourage farmers to give up cultivation of narcotic crops, the Jammu and Kashmir government will provide incentives like seeds, fertilizers or cash for growing vegetables.

Incentive of Rs 45,000 per hectare of land will be given to farmers to convert narcotic belts into vegetable farms, Director Agriculture, Kashmir, Farooq Ahmad Lone said on Thursday, an official spokesman said.

Lone was addressing a gathering of farmers during an awareness-cum-training camp organised by Farmers Training Centre, Department of Agriculture at Bijbehara and Anantnag in south Kashmir, the spokesman said.

A provision of Rs 45 lakh had been made in the current year's plan under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) for the scheme targeted at covering 100 hectares of land, he said.

The south Kashmir belt has emerged as a narcotics hub in the Valley with widespread cultivation of poppy and 'bhung' being undertaken by the farmers in violation of the Narcotic, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, he said.

The incentive shall be in the form of seeds, fertilizers and other inputs or on cash reimbursement basis depending upon the choice of the farmer, he said.

Lone directed officers of the department to launch a door-to-door awareness campaign for the scheme and requested people to participate in the programme so that the cultivation of narcotics is checked.

Lone called on Imams and religious scholars to play their role in eradicating the menace of narcotics cultivation.

He advised farmers to take advantage of schemes launched by the department and co-operate with field functionaries in implementing all the programmes for making the state self-sufficient in various food crops like pulses and oilseed.


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