Jammu and Kashmir state with rich source of agriculture has all along been the source of resources for employment and other ways of livelihood for the populace.
But of late the conversion of agriculture land into something which is not related with this activity has created lot of problems.
When we draw a portrate of agriculture in Jammu and Kashmir we get a dismal presentation and picture is gloomy.
Th economy of the state is largely agrarian with 70% of population defendant on it and about 49% of the working population engaged in it.
The food grain production of India during the year 2010-2011 is 24156 thousand tones while it is only 137.15 thousand tones for J&K reflecting a low share of .06 per cent. Here demand is high and locals have to depend on imports which comes about Rs 1600 crores to fill the deficit gape of 5 lakh metric tones.
The net irrigated area during the year 1981-82 was 3.04 lakh hecters and it went upto 3.71 lakh hecters in 2008-09 reflecting marginal increase during the last 3 decades.
The state fails to qualify for national food security mission(NFSM).
One more field which is showing some promising results is horticulture which accounts only for 13% of the net sqwn area but contributes 45% of the states agriculture GDP. Six lakh families comprising of 30 lakh people are directly or indirectly involved in horticulture.
The rich source of income can be obtained by way of foreign exchange the state has earned by way of exports to different parts of the country.
During the year 2005-06 the quantity of fruits exports was estimated at 5552.45 Mts with foreign exchange of Rs 115.95 crores while during the year 2010-11 the quantity of fruit exported is estimated to be 9615.55 and foreign exchange earned as Rs. 208.4 croes .
During the year 2004-05 the. Percentage change over the year 2010-11 reveals that there was increase of about 73% on account of quantity exported and about 80% increase in terms of foreign exchange.
The total production of apple in India is estimated at 2891 thousand Mts which comprises 1852.41 thousand Mts from J&K reflecting a major share of about 64%.
Further in the state the percentage change for the year 2010-11 over the year 2004-05 reveals that there has been significant change of about 37% in terms of area and 65% change in respect to production however the productivity has only an increase of 17% during this period.
France leads the table with an average productivity of about 43mt/ha followed by Italy with 38mt/ha brazil 33mt/ha USA wit 33mt/ha. The average productivity of apple in world has been estimated at about 15mt/ha however the average productivity of apple in J&K continues to be a great concern with about 10mt/ha.
The Kashmiri saffron is one more casualty in Kashmir because it got a step motherly treatment from the corridors of power and cultivated land got diversified into highways and residential colonies..
The saffron being the costliest spice of the world but in Kashmir it has got a special status as it is attached with the very ethos of the people.
The percentage change for the year 2009 over 1097 is terrible and shocking.
The data available from the state financial commissioner,srinagar reveals that the area has gone down to 31% while the production level has reduced to 47% and even productivity has declined to about 23% during this period.
The contribution of saffron in terms of gross state domestic product(GSDP) during the year 2004-05 was recorded at .025% while it is 0.013% for the year 2009-10 indicating its gradual slump.
Spain has the highest productivity levels of more than 8 kg/hectare followed by Italy with 7.5 kg/hectare while it is only 2.15 kg/hectare in our state(acta horti-739,2007)while as in Iran we have 4 kg/hectare of production. Against the world productivity of almost 4.80 kg/hectare our productivity level stands only half of it.
The apex organization in state like SKUAST(K) and central institute of temperate horticulture(CITH) have made commendable job through research development however there is a vast scope for further improvement to increase the production and productivity trends particularly in case of Apple and safron.
Strong measure need to be taken for further exploration of high yielding varieties,production of high quality planting material,canopy management,high density plantation,rejuvination technology and water harvesting. RKVY can change the very fate of agriculture scenario provided strong research and extension efforts are required.
Equal emphases needs to be given to crop husbandry as food security and diversification are indispensable in nature. Technologies developed through front line demonstration(FLDs) and on farm-trails(OFTs) needs to be disseminated through main extension system for the benefit of farmers at large to change the outlook of the farming community from traditional agriculture to diversified agriculture.
We need to undertake a pack of steps that can change it for better.
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