It can be a paradigm shift

With the new approach Rabi crop cultivation can lead us to economic prosperity in Kashmir
It can be a paradigm shift
Representational Pic

Dr Imtiyaz Rasool Ganai

irasoolaleem@gmail.com

After a long time we have seen the Department of Agriculture shifting focus in J&K from traditional cropping pattern to value based cropping. It is a healthy sign and an awakening call for farmers who otherwise were bogged down due to lack of knowledge and expertise.

We can now see hoardings in every nook and corner of JK wherein different programmes for farmers’ awareness and counselling avenues are highlighted for the welfare of farmers and farming industry at grassroots level. In JK our mainstay crop cultivation was Kharief and Zaid because of the suitable climate. Rabi crops used to be hit due to the chilly winter and snowing.

We were habitual to grow only few crops in Rabi that too without much expectations. The paddy lands and other orchard lands can give us more than two crops if we make optimum use of land in various seasons.

Now a paradigm shift is seen due to high yielding varieties and new cropping techniques and market value of crops. In this regard farmers should take cue from progressive farmers and other states where more than two crops are grown in a year from the same fields and farmers are satisfied with it. Our state has a holistic mission this year regarding popularising Mustard oil seeds and have been encouraging farmers to exploit the land, especially paddy fields, for cultivation Mustard oil seed because of its market value, feasibility, less efforts. This can give good economic dividends to farmers and boost their morale. It is pertinent to mention here that in North India Mustard cultivation alone accounts for 57% of area under Rabi crop cultivation. Since J&K is one of the biggest importers of oil and can be now made self-sufficient in the coming years, the consumers in J&K will get a huge relief.

We should not only confine to mustard cultivation but we have an array of various other Rabi crops which should be adopted by our farmers, and they should understand their economic value; this way we can double our income. We have Karewas, hilly areas and other orchid lands which can be easily utilized for other Rabi crop cultivations. Wheat, barely, onion, garlic, shallots, peas and other Rabi crops are also ideal for cultivation. In J&K wheat is also a staple food and we are also importing wheat from outside the valley in bulk. Barley is also grown in temperate climates which also has food value, medicinal value and can be healthy fodder for our livestock. Barely provides fibre, vitamin B, vitamin B6 and minerals. It can help the diabetic patients and reduce obesity. Garlic is very useful and among commonly used spices because of its plethora of medicinal uses. It is a species of bulbous flowering plant. There is a lot of demand for it in the market. It can be exported on a commercial basis. Onions are mostly imported in Kashmir and are widely used. Besides, it has a lot of demand in the market. Usually its prices remain very stable in the market. The farmers can also cash from it if it is cultivated at large scale. In J&K it is not difficult to cultivate it because it does not require much effort. It is also a Rabi crop cultivated in winter season, November onwards. Shallot belongs to the onion group and is often used instead of onion. It is also used in spices hence it has great demand. The peas are also a Rabi crop in J&K and considered as favourite vegetable in Kashmir valley. It is a fact that if we promote the Rabi crops the way we cultivate Kharief crops we can in a long way mitigate the demands and also we can become self-sufficient and more and more households will get involved and engaged in agriculture activities for sustainable economic development. But the onus of marketing facility lies with government, especially agriculture production and farmers welfare for better marketing facilities to the farmers as it observed that in rural areas farmers have dearth of much marketing facility. They don’t get timely buyers for their yield. This will make agriculture a sustainable and remunerative activity for farmers. Hope farming community will wake up and take the farming occupation as a productive venture.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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