Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on April 29 inaugurated an Indo-Dutch demonstration- cum-experimental orchard here and called for minimising the gap between laboratories and fields by sharing the research findings with farmers regularly.

The chief minister planted the sapling of an apple tree to symbolically throw open the demonstration orchard at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology SKUAST, an official spokesman said.

Vice-Chancellor Nazeer Ahmad informed the chief minister that 111 major and minor research projects are underway at the campus and 32 new projects worth Rs.18.93 crore are being started.

The university has released 12 new strains of high-yielding varieties of rice, maize, wheat and other crops besides extending the cultivation of Mushkbudji (a fragrant variety of rice) to Budgam, Baramulla, Bandipora and Kupwara districts and rearing of Pashmina goat to Gurez and Sonamarg, the spokesman said.

Later, the chief minister visited the Residue and Quality Analysis and Pesticide Residue Analysis laboratories of the university and witnessed the activities going on there.

Mehbooba asked the university administration to minimise the gap between laboratories and fields and share the research findings with the farmers regularly through more and more extension activities, the spokesman said.
The chief minister also laid the foundation of a hostel block for girl students. The three-storey building would be built at a cost of Rs.5.30 crore and on completion is expected to house around 70 students.