Kupwara: The harvesting season of the paddy crop is in full swing here in north Kashmir and farmers are joyous after harvesting a bumper crop this year, thanks to better weather conditions.
The paddy farmers said that the subsidy provided by the government on fertilisers helped them obtain good quality and high quantity of paddy production this year.
Paddy is harvested on approximately 1.40 lakh hectares of land, which constitutes 28 percent of the total agricultural land in Kashmir.
Autumn marks the period of traditional harvesting in Kashmir.
“The government gave subsidies for buying fertilisers. Our livelihood depends on paddy farming,” said Mukhtar Ahmad, a Gulgam resident. “We are getting a lot of benefits due to the subsidy received from the Agriculture Department on fertilisers.”
The farmers said that this year, due to sufficient rainfall, farmers were very happy as they were harvesting a bumper crop.
“The crop was beyond our expectations this year,” said farmer Abdul Aziz Dar of Gushi.
The farmers at Natnusa on the Srinagar-Kupwara highway said that their crops were affected because of less irrigation.
The area is the Kandi belt and paddy is wholly dependent on rainfall.
“Due to insufficient rainfall and hot weather, the paddy crop was 25 percent less than what was harvested last year,” said a group of farmers harvesting paddy. “Even then it was satisfactory for the entire hamlet.”
The Agriculture Department officials said that both the quality and quantity of paddy crop has increased.
They said that this year’s paddy production has increased compared to last year.
“We are always trying to introduce new seed varieties to improve the quality and quantity of paddy crops for the benefit of the farmers,” the officials said.
In April, the Irrigation and Flood Control Department advised the farmers to avoid sowing paddy owing to a dry spell.
An official said that the Irrigation and Flood Control Department had apprehensions of dry weather in certain areas of Sopore, Kupwara, and Anantnag.
“To the delight of the farmers, with the grace of the Almighty, during June and July, there was 230 mm of rainfall compared to the usual 120 mm,” an official said. “This year’s paddy crop is one of the best in recent years,” the official said.
Usually, the harvesting is heavily dependent on non-local labourers who remained unavailable during the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the last two years, the local farmers in Kashmir found it difficult to hurry up with the harvest.