Valley faces steady decline in vegetable production
Srinagar, Jan 31: The steady decline in vegetable production is becoming a cause of concern in the Valley. Once known for quality seed production, Kashmir, experts said, had been witnessing a persistent downfall in the vegetable production over last six decades.
“Kashmir is heaven for seed production for vegetable crops, be it cabbage, cauliflower or root crops like carrot, radish, turnip. These seeds require a chilling temperature for about 45 days, which is available in Kashmir,” said Dr Nayeema Jabeen, associate professor, division of floriculture, SKAUST.
She said Kashmir after 1947 was established as a zone for production of seeds of cole crops as well as root crops.
She, however, said, there were certain constraints in the vegetable production here. “One of the primary factors responsible for low vegetable production is lack of quality seed.”
The SKAUST, according to her, had the mandate to produce breeders’ seed which it gave to the department of agriculture for production of foundation and certified seeds. “The department, however, does not have enough land for the production of these seeds,” she said.
Another problem she said was that farmers were procuring the seed from “unreliable” sources. “The growers don’t procure the seeds from the reliable sources. They get them from the local market which is not a reliable source,” she said adding that it was due to lack of awareness among the farmers.
“They use their own seed over a number of years, and once the seed is reused again and again for several years, it loses its yield potential, which eventually results in low production,” she said.
As per the figures available with division of floriculture, SKAUST, the annual vegetable production in Kashmir is 7,70,000 ton, Jammu 4,81,000 ton and Ladakh 6680 ton. The area under vegetables is nearly 30,000 hectares in Jammu, 30,250 hectares in Kashmir and 526 hectares in Ladakh. The productivity is 25 ton per hectare in Kashmir, 13.82 ton per hectare in Jammu and 12.71 tons per hectare in Ladakh.
Dr Jabeen said poor transfer and non-adoption of advanced production technology was another reason for low production. She said the technology they had developed was not transferred to the extent it should have.
“And when it is transferred some farmers show reluctance to adopt it for vegetable production is only a subsistence farming for them and not whole-time farming,” she said.
Experts said there was also lack of planning in production. “We don’t have reliable statistics on area, production and productivity that eventually pose a problem for planning and execution of developmental programmes,” they said.
Dr Jabeen held biotic and abiotic stresses equally responsible. She said due to changes in biotic nature, pest diseases had also increased.
She said poor status of farmers could not be ruled out, “for they are not in a position to purchase inputs in time and apply that quantity in the field.”
Experts said earlier there used to be defined areas for vegetable cultivation in Srinagar, like Noorbagh, Danderkha, etc. “But later those areas witnessed tremendous urbanization and constructions and housing colonies came up at the places of vegetation cultivation,” they said, adding that some went for shift farming from Srinagar to Badgam and Pulwama districts.
Dr Jabeen said weak marketing facilities had also contributed to low production. She said assured irrigation system that is a must for vegetable cultivation was too lacking here.
On post-harvest losses, she said 30 to 40 per cent of the vegetable production was lost due to lack of post-harvest storage facilities.
Experts said the low government investment in this sector was one of the major reasons for the downfall.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 31 Jan 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 31 Jan 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 1 Feb 2010 00:00:00 IST
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Srinagar, Jan 31: The steady decline in vegetable production is becoming a cause of concern in the Valley. Once known for quality seed production, Kashmir, experts said, had been witnessing a persistent More