Uniting Agriculture And Medicine: SKUAST Hosts AGRI-MED Science Congress

(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer) Srinagar- The JK AGRI-MED Science Congress has commenced with great enthusiasm at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir (SKUAST).

The event is being held at the Shalimar campus, with the theme 'Reshaping Bioeconomy towards One Health', marking a significant collaboration between various organizations including the Department of Science and Technology, J&K Government, SKIMS and JK Research Consortium.


The ongoing congress has a focus on reevaluating existing food production systems and healthcare facilities, it endeavors to chart a course towards a more robust agri-economy and a resilient healthcare sector since both the sectors are interconnected.

Speaking to Kashmir Observer on the sidelines of the event the Vice-Chancellor SKUAST, Prof. Nazir Ahmad Ganai, said that the congress serves as a pivotal platform for comprehensive discussions on the integration of agriculture and medical sciences and is aimed at fostering a futuristic approach to both sectors and ultimately, nurturing a healthier society.

He said that it is for the first time in Jammu & Kashmir and India that agricultural and medical experts are coming on a single platform. The event involves SKUAST, SKIMS and the JK consortium of universities and researchers. The Jammu & Kashmir council for science and technology is supporting us in this venture.

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“In recent decades, agriculture and medicine have made significant progress since independence. Farmer's economic conditions have improved and past diseases have declined. However, new challenges arise due to changing weather and other factors. Yet, we observe soil, water and environmental deterioration,” Ganai said.

“Our food contains toxic residues, contributing to disease escalation through the food chain. So, the collaboration between agricultural and medical experts is crucial. Improving animal health is essential for human health, as seventy percent of infectious diseases in humans stem from animals,” he added.

Ganai said that the event marks the first establishment of the One Health institution in India, supported by a significant Rs 25 crore government project.

“Additionally, we have secured another project. Our goal is to enhance people's health and well-being.”

Ganai said that collaborating sooner would have been ideal but better late than never.

“India is now focusing on developing a Viksit India, considering our youthful demographic. To achieve this, we must enhance people's lives through more conferences in the future.”

The congress which will conclude on Thursday is witnessing a gathering of around 700 delegates including renowned scientists, scholars and students, sets the stage for the exchange of cutting-edge research and innovative ideas.

Pertinently, the Congress was inaugurated by Commissioner Secretary Department of Science and Technology, Saurabh Baghat, Tuesday. Baghat commended SKUAST-K's visionary initiative in fostering dialogue between agriculture and medical sciences with a shared vision of shaping a future-ready landscape for both sectors.

Head Department of Community medicine Dr Muhammad Salim Khan, a medical expert and delegate in the ongoing Agri-Med Congress said the AGRO-MED congress holds significant importance as both the fields are inter-related.

“In Punjab over recent decades, heavy pesticide and fertilizer use have led to increased yields but rendered the land barren. This overuse is decreasing yields and harming human health. Transitioning to organic farming and heeding agricultural expert's advice is crucial,” Khan said.

“We must prevent harmful chemicals from entering the human food chain to safeguard health. Some farmers prioritize high yields with excessive fertilizer use, overlooking consumer welfare. Consumers, in turn, should be vigilant about their food choices. Front-of-package labels provide ingredient information for informed decisions,” he added.

“There's a need to change our lifestyle. Excessive fast food consumption leads to higher calorie and fat intake, exacerbating health issues.”

As the Agri-Med Conference enters its last day on Thursday, anticipation runs high for the emergence of concrete recommendations that promise to reshape Jammu and Kashmir in terms of health, agriculture and ignite a spirit of organic farming.

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