Kashmir - Agriculture
Background: The Department of Agriculture in Jammu and Kashmir State came into existence during the pre-independence era. Till the year 1981 there was a single Directorate of Agriculture for the whole State.The Department was assigned specific mandate to bring about increase in crop production in a planned way to feed its fast growing population. In the year 1981-82, separate Directorates of Agriculture were established for both Jammu as well as Kashmir Divisions due to diverse agro-climatic conditions prevailing in these Divisions. This facilitated formulation of policies and programmes aimed at optimization and rational utilization of land and water resources for sustained agricultural production. Initially the department was exercising jurisdiction in the following wide fields:
Agri Development and Extension
Development of Seed multiplication Programmes
Research on Agriculture.
Maintenance of Botanicals gardens and development of Poultry.
Development of Horticulture & Management of Rakhs and Farms
With the passage of time some of the schemes like parks and gardens, Horticulture Development, Poultry Development got separated during the early sixties. Subsequent to 60's the department got tremendous expansion in various schemes under the agenda of crash Programmes, intensive agri production, drought prone area programme plant protection management and with particular attention to development area under vegetable development programme and involving high yielding varieties of paddy and cereal seeds, besides introduction of farm Machinery subsequently from machinery was withdrawn and a separate corporation namely AIDC came into existence during late 60's. During April 1982, the department got bifurcated in to two directorates one each at provincial level of J&K State followed by another bifurcation in the form that all the research schemes of department were transferred to a new organization known as SKAUST J&K in the month of 08/1982.
The Department of Agriculture, Kashmir envisages to help growers in the filed of agriculture with:
Land being a limited resource, would continue to be under stress in future. A very high priority will, therefore, be accorded to exploring possibilities and potentialities of crop diversification in different agroclimatic zones with a view to maximizing the return per unit area of the land to the farmer, consistent with ecological and environmental considerations. In high cropping intensity areas including irrigated areas, knowledge intensive precision farming techniques shall be prescribed and promoted for adoption. Use of hybrid varieties shall be encouraged in order to break yield barriers. Farmers will be advised about suitable technological packages including choice of crops, varieties and the requisite inputs to ensure high productivity with elastic cropping mechanism. The pattern of incentives in these areas and input packages shall be reviewed and tailored to suit the changing needs.
In rain-fed areas, diversified and value-added agriculture system shall be advocated. Incentives and technical messages shall converge on promotion and adoption of the full package of recommended practices including the choice of crops and varieties, rain water management including in situ- moisture conservation, water harvesting and recycling. The principle of management on water- shed basis shall be adopted for this purpose.
Available surface and ground water resources shall be tapped through public and private investments with a focus on providing irrigation facilities for appropriate crops in Karewa areas. Ground water resources shall be properly mapped with assistance from the concerned central agencies .Extensive awareness programme shall be planned and implemented for judici.ous and efficient use of irrigation water. Energy needs for ground water exploitation shall be met on priority under single window clearance. Existing canal systems will be brought under participatory irrigation management. Special incentives will be provided for popularization of water-harvesting structures, storage tanks, watersaving methods of irrigation like sprinkler, drip and underground pipelines.
Agro-met advisory services shall be initiated for all the agro-climatic zones covering medium and long range weather forecasts for timely operations, in co-ordination with the state Agriculture universities and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecast.
Major thrust will also be laid on increasing farm power as a supplement and substitute to reduced availability of draught animals for farming operations. Appropriate energy efficient, user-friendly and sturdy implements suiting the suiting the needs of various regions shall be developed and popularized.
Stress will be laid on quality at all stages of farm operations from sowing to primary processing. Quality consciousness among farmers and agroprocessors will be promoted through effective use of the media and personal contact by the departmental functionaries and instituting a scheme of awards for recognizing outstanding performance.
Integrated Nutrient Management practices using chemical fertilizers in conjunction with organic resources like farm-yard manure, enriched compost bio-fertilizers and green manuring will be popularized. This will optimize crop production in irrigated as well as rain-fed areas, besides improving soil productivity.
Integrated Pest Management package will be popularized for adoption through special incentives. This would check the indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides and out-break of secondary pests, pollution in food materials and eco-system and add a new dimension of organic produce for promoting marketing of fruits and vegetables.
Farmers will also be educated about the concept of integrated development of their farm household by taking a holistic view of their assets and potential. For this purpose, bringing about convergence of various schemes for development of the rural sector will be a priority.
It is necessary to bring out proper convergence in the implementation of various schemes for upliftment of rural masses and poverty alleviation. Necessary intuitional mechanism will be devised to bring out the requisite convergence.
Jammu Division has a total geographical area of 26,293 sq. kms, which comprises about 12 percent of the total geographical area of the State. Land use statistics is, however, available for a total reported area of 17.94 lac Ha.(17940 sq.kms) as per village records. The net area under cultivation in this Division is 3.90 lac Ha. out of which an area of 1.00 lac Ha. is irrigated.
Jammu Division - Physiography:
Jammu Division is located between an altitude of 300 meters and 4200 meters above Mean Sea Level(MSL). Ranbirsingh Pura in Jammu district and Sumcham (Padder) in Doda district are the lowest and highest permanent settlement points for human population. Settlement pattern is mostly gregarious. Human population of the Division as per Census 2001 is 43.96 lacs. In physiography , following broad physical divisions are generally recognized from agricultural point of view :
1) Subtropical Zone: It spreads between an altitude of 300 meters and 1000 meters above MSL and enshrines Jammu district as a whole and parts of Kathua, Udhampur and Rajouri districts. This zone is characterized by hot summer, heavy summer monsoon and relatively dry but pronounced winter with pre-ponderance of alluvial soils. Normal summer monsoon ranges between 1200 to 1500 mm from mid June to mid September. This zone is further divided into two sub zones comprising the following areas :
Irrigated Sub-tropical Zone: It includes irrigated areas of Kathua, Barnoti, Hiranagar, Ghagwal, Samba, Vijaypur, Purmandal,Satwari, Bishnah, R.S. Pura, Marh & Bhalwal, Blocks on the right hand side of Jammu -Pathankot National Highway and Akhnoor, Khour, Nowshera, and Sunderbani Blocks on the Jammu - Poonch Highway
Unirrigated Sub-tropical Zone: It includes Kandi and unirrigated areas of Kathua, Barnoti, Hiranagar, Ghagwal, Samba & Purmandal to the left hand side of Jammu-Pathankot National Highway and Bhalwal, Akhnoor,Khour and parts of Kalakot, Nowshera and Sunderbani Blocks on Jammu-Poonch Highway and Ramban in Doda district
Most of the canal irrigation system being located in the Sub tropical zone, production and productivity of crops is high in this zone. The aromatic rice crop "Basmati" is also a speciality of the RS Pura, Bishnah, Satwari and Marh blocks of this zone and has high export value.
2) Intermediate Zone: This zone is located between an altitude of 1000 meters and 1500 meter above MSL. It consists of some parts of Basholi, Billawar, Ramnagar, Udhampur, Reasi, Pouni, Chenani ,Panchari, Ghordi, Mahore, Gool and large area of Kalakot, Budhal, Rajouri, Doda Darhal, Thathri, Balakot, , Ramsoo, Assar,Bhagwah, Ramban, Mahore, Mendhar, Poonch, Gordi, Panchari and Manjakot Blocks within the said altitude.
Barring some Blocks of Doda district i.e. Doda, Bhagwah, Assar and Ramban and some Blocks of Udhampur district i..e Mohre, Gool & Pouni which are drought prone, this zone has mild summer, fair monsoon during summer and relatively wet winter. Soils are spodosolic, undulating and prone to erosion.
Due to fair degree of monsoon and relatively wet & cool winters this zone has a fairly good level of productivity of Maize and Vegetable crops. In respect of Maize, an exceptionally high level of productivity (i.e.128 qtl/ha.)was obtained by a farmer in Rajouri district.
3) Temperate Zone: This zone includes all other areas of Jammu Division which are located above 1500 meters altitude. Of special mention are the Blocks of Warwan, Marwah,Dachhan, Chhatru, Paddar, Kishtwar, Thathri, Bhaderwah, Banihal, Mendhar, Manjakot, Bani, Basohli and parts of Bhagwah, Assar, Gool-Gulabgarh, Mahore,Dudu-Basantgarh, Darhal, etc.
This zone is characterized by relatively mild but dry summer with little monsoon and fairly cold- wet winter due to the 'Western Weather Disturbances'. It is mostly a monocropped zone with low production & productivity. However, other agriculture enterprises like pomology, apiculture & animal/sheep husbandry are very common and rather supplement the modest agricultural income obtained through arable farming. The area is also suitable for seed production of temperate vegetable crops.
Saffron (Crocus sativus), possessing innumerable medicinal and aromatic properties is grown in the Kishtwar plateau of Doda district in an area of about 70 ha. Rajmash (Phaseolus vulgaris) possessing flavour and organo-leptic qualities having high market potential is also widely grown in the higher altitudes of this zone.
Climate: Jammu Division has a varied climate. Whereas it is hot in the sub-tropical belt during summer months, it is dry and cool in winter months. Intermediate zone has a mild climate both during summer as well as during winter. But in the temperate zone, whereas summer is mild and dry, winter is extremely cold & wet due to heavy snowfall.