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Agriculture Kashmir - AGRIK

Introduction:
Kashmir Division of J&K  State has a varied climate ranging from temperate regions of valley to cold deserts of Leh and Kargil. The net cultivated area is 3.59 lacs hectares and like rest of the country 80% of population resides in rural areas and Agriculture is their main stay. Majority of the farm operating families are small and marginal ones. By virtue of varied climatic conditions, nature has bestowed the valley potential for diversified agriculture farming.

Paddy, Maize, vegetables and Pulses are the major crops grown in Kashmir Division during Kharief season when Oil Seeds, Pulses, Vegetables, Wheat and Fodders are grown during Rabi season. There is no doubt that Agriculture Production in this Division has increased substantially. The advent of H.Y.V/ Hybrid Seeds, improved agriculture machinery and advanced technology has changed to scenario altogether increasing the productivity as well as production levels almost in every kind of crop to more than double within 10-15 years.

However, the increase in Agriculture Production has not kept pace with the tremendous growth of population mainly due to small and fragmented holding size, weather fluctuations, poor economic status of farmers, inadequate assured irrigation facilities, shrinkage of cultivable  area. Out of 1.2 la Sq. Kmr of total geographical area, the gross areas sown is 4.19 lacs hectares of which 3.58 lacs hectares is the net area sown with cropping intensity of 117% in Kashmir Region.

During the 11th Plan period National agriculture Policy envisages increasing of crop production ad productivity by adopting multifacit approach such as increasing SRR from the present level 3-4% to 25-30%, increasing cropping intensity, tapping  of surface and subsurface water and its judicious use for irrigation purpose, diversification, mechanization and modernization of agriculture, easy credits to the farmers through Kissan Credit Cards through Nationalized and Non-Nationalized Banks, Crop Insurance Scheme, popularization of Hybrid seeds in ash crops, balanced use of chemical fertilizers and bio-chemicals, soil testing on mass scale for identifying nutrient deficiencies and recommendations of proper treatment thereof, development of land under Micro Water Sheds, re-claming of cultivable waste and fallow lands ad disseminate technology from the Research Institutes to the  farmers.

Annual Plan 2009-10
The approved outlay for 2009-10 is to the tune of Rs. 750.77 lacs which includes Rs. 304.77 lacs under Revenue Component and Rs. 446.00 lacs under Capital Component. The object-wise breakup of approved allocation for the year 2009-10 is detailed as under:-

1. Land Acquisition:
A provision of Rs. 1.00 lac has been approved for acquisition of land in Saffron Belt Pampore for  construction of Deep Bore Well to facilitate the irrigation facility to the saffron fields. The provision of Rs. 15.44 lacs has already been made available to the  Ground Water Division for drilling of Bore Well and the department is in search of suitable piece of lance required for the purpose.

2. Ongoing Works:
As many as 29 Civil Works were under execution during 2008-09. Out of which 20 works were completed by the end of March, 2009 leaving a balance of 9 works as spell over. During 2008-09, an amount of Rs. 175.00 lacs was provided for completion of these works. Against this, the expenditure has been booked to the tune of Rs. 166.92 lacs. The outlay for 2009-10 has been approved to the tune of Rs. 198.00 lacs.

With the coming up of four new districts of Ganderbal, Bandipora, Kulgam and Shopian, the department has to provide basic infrastructural facility like that of Office Complex for Chief Agriculture Officer and other District Level Officers to run the work in the newly created districts smoothly.

3. Maintenance of Capital Assets:
Provision of Rs.22.00 lacs have been proposed for maintenance of capita assets which includes maintenance of Farm Machinery, Vehicles, Lab. Equipment and other infrastructure in the SM Farms, Agriculture Workshops and Districts etc.

4. Machinery and Equipment:
An amount of Rs. 22.00 lacs has been proposed for purchase of machinery/ equipment for various SM Farms, Soil Testing Labs. Quality Control/ Seed Testing/ Soil Survey/ Pathological and Spawn Production Laboratories.

5. Material and Supplies:
The Department of Agriculture has  a network of 22 Seed Multiplication Farms in the Division where thousands quintals of quality seeds of different crops are produced annually for distribution to the farming community. The department has to make necessary arrangements for purchase of  inputs like seeds, fertilizers, pesticides for running these Farms in order to produce sufficient quantity of different seeds for distribution to the farming community. Sufficient funds are required for development of these Farms by way of creation of basic infrastructural facilities. The raw material is also required for Mushroom, Apiculture, Soil Testing, Seed Testing and Agriculture Workshops for carrying out the various departmental activities. An amount of Rs. 68.00 lacs have been proposed during 2009-10 under this Component.

6. Subsidy/ Incentives:
The subsidy/ incentive proposed in the Capital Component mostly comprising matching State Share for implementation of various Centrally Sponsored Scheme viz. Macro Mode, ISOPOM etc. A provision of Rs. 121.00 lacs has been proposed on account of subsidy/ incentives provided to the farmers on various beneficiary oriented schemes/programmes, which includes Rs. 45.00 lacs as Matching State Share for Centrally Sponsored Scheme and Rs. 16.00 lacs as subsidy on seeds under State Sector. The balance amount of Rs. 60.00 lacs has been proposed under District Sector for implementation of various District Sector Schemes including Mushroom, Apiculture, OPP, NPDP and other beneficiary oriented schemes.

7. Vehicles:
An amount of Rs. 10.00 lacs has been approved for purchase of 2 new vehicles during 2009-10 under replacement programme in place of condemned vehicles.Some of the Thrust Programmes of the Department are briefly discussed as under:
Vegetable Development Scheme

The Department of  Agriculture is making all possible efforts to promote the vegetable production in the valley by way of introducing new technology and diversification of cropping system. Cultivation of area specific vegetables and spices is given the preference. Establishment of Poly Green Houses, Low Tunnels, Hot Bed Technology, Plastic Mulching, Organic Farming, use of Bio-Fertilizers and Training Programmes are the essential components of the scheme. With the introduction of these programmes, the Department has been able to boost the production of vegetables in the valley and surplus stock are exported now to other parts of the country. 23 thousand hectares of land is covered under vegetable crops in the valley during Kharief and Rabi season with an estimated production of 5.50 lacs M. Tones.

The Department is producing 4000-5000 quintals of quality seeds including Potato Seed tubers in its Seed Multiplication Farms, which is provided to the farmers on the subsidized rates. Besides vegetables Kitchen Garden Nursery at Lalmandi and similar nurseries in the districts are raising vegetable seedlings of different varieties of improved/ hybrid seeds for general distribution to the vegetable growers/farmers to promote vegetable cultivation in urban areas. Annually 9 to 10 lacs seedlings are produced and distributed at these nurseries on normal charges which realize revenue in lacs to the State exchequer.

In addition to this concerted efforts are being made to promote  vegetable cultivation under Technology Mission by way of expansion of area and adoption of latest technological methods in the field. Attractive incentives are provided to the farmers under area expansion programmes to promote vegetable cultivation to a large extent.

Floriculture Development Programme:
The Government is keen to promote Floriculture Sector in the valley and several measures have been taken in this direction. The Department of Agriculture is having a number of Floriculture nurseries in the valley especially at Lalmandi and Allowpora, Pulwama where Ornamental and Aromatic Plant Nurseries are produced besides the Seed Multiplication Programmes of the flower seeds and plants. The Department has also established Aromatic/ Medicinal/ Rose Oil extraction Plant at Allowpora to export Aromatic/ Medicinal/ Rose Oil outside the valley.

Model Floriculture Centre at Nuner has been developed under Technology Mission Programmes with the investment of Rs. 100.00 lacs in the first phase. It will be a model centre with the facility of required infrastructure, like mist chamber, glass house, lab equipment Gen. Set, Tube Well, Pumping Machinery etc. which will help in raising seedlings/ plants of high quality and high value ornamental and medicinal plants etc. The department has imported Lilium Bulbs from Holland and propagated at MFC Nuner, the bulbs produced at the centre are being distributed to the commercial growers/ interested parties.

The Department is also promoting floriculture in the private sector by providing incentive on area expansion @ Rs. 13000/- per hectare, besides providing technical expertise and organizing training programmes to the private growers. Methods to adopt protected cultivation to promote commercial floriculture are also encouraged in the private sector.

Mushroom Development:
The Department of Agriculture is having Mushroom Demonstration-cum-Training Centre at Lalmandi, Baramulla and Anantnag and efforts are on to open such centres  in other district as well, where demonstration/ training programme is organized a  mushroom cultivation on latest technological methods. The Department is having a Spawn Production Lab at Lalmandi, which produces more than 10,000 Spawn bottles annually for distribution to the mushroom growers.

A target of 8000 mushroom  trays is proposed to be laid during 2009-10 with production targets of 470 quintal. The Department under the umbrella of Technology Mission is going to establish Integrated  Mushroom Centre at Lalmandi. Some funds have already been released by the Government under Technology Mission for Development  of Integrated Mushroom Centre which will promote mushroom cultivation in the valley in a large scale. The department is also providing 50% subsidy on distribution of mushroom trays and raw material in the District Sector to promote the mushroom cultivation in the valley.

Apiculture Development:
Apiculture is an important Cottage Industries which provides employment to a number of un-employed youth. Nature has bestowed the valley variety of Flora to sustain 45000 Colonies and produce 5000 Qtls. of  honey  per annum. The Department has distributed ______ Bee-hives/ Bee Colonies during 2008-09 with an Incentive of Rs. 800/Hive/Colony. Subsidy is also provided under District Sector on medicaments/ Appliances etc for control of Vorroa disease which has caused large scale damages to the existing colonies during 2005-06 and adversely affected the production of honey in the valley.

In addition to this, under  Technology Mission, Training Programmes, Awareness Camps are organized for the un-employed youths to persuade them to go for bee keeping profession.

Macro Management Mode (CSS):
Macro Management of Agriculture “CSS” is under implementation in this division since 2000-01 on the ratio of 90:10% sharing pattern. The objective of the scheme is to achieve the sustained growth of agriculture by doubling the food production by the year 2010. Holistic approach has been adopted to achieve the desired goal, which covers the programmes for development of various crops, Condiments and Spices, Quality Control of Pesticides, Seeds, Fertilizers, Soil Health, Development of Natural Resources and Monitoring and Evaluation.

The Action Plan for implementation of the scheme has been proposed to the tune of Rs.552.00 lacs during 2009-10.The scheme is being implemented in all the districts of the division including Leh and  Kargil and main thrust is given on production of quality seeds for distribution to the farmers. Subsidy incentive is also provided on crop demonstrations of Paddy, Wheat, Oats etc. Farm Machinery like, Tractor, Tillers, IP Sets, Threshers and other manually operated implements are provided to the farmers on 25% subsidized rates. The matching State Share for 2009-10 has been provided fully in the Draft Annual Proposals.

ISOPOM:
The scheme has been approved for implementation during 2004-05 on the ratio of 75:25% sharing pattern and 50:50 in respect of infrastructural development. The erstwhile CSS “NDPD” OPP and AMDP were clubbed and integrated approach has been adopted for development of Oilseeds, Pulses, Oil Palm and Maize for better results and proper monitoring. The Acton Plan for 2009-10 has been submitted to the Government of India for an outlay of Rs. 104.00 lacs in respect of this division. However, formal approval and release of funds is awaited. The matching state share is available in the plan 2009-10 has been earmarked for plan proposals 2009-10. Some of the important components of the scheme are Demonstration Programme, IPM Demonstration, Incentive on Seed Production through seed villages, distribution of hybrid seeds of maize, implements, PP Machinery, sprinkles etc.

A provision of Rs.5.00 lacs each have been provided on account of State Share for implementation of other Centrally Sponsored Scheme, ATMA & National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS).

Agriculture Lands:
Annually lacs of cubic meters of fertile sol are washed away by torrential rains from the terrains and undulating cultivable agriculture lands adversely affecting the fertility of soil. To avoid such erosions, huge funds are required to be provided for taking up suitable soil conservation measures like benching terracing, land leveling, construction of Retaining Walls, Check Dams and Protection Bunds etc. Besides constructions of Water Harvesting Tanks and Village Ponds for storing the rain water for use during dry spell for agriculture purposes.

Over the past so many years, the capital outlay under the scheme has been reduced instead of increase. Due to limited resources available under the scheme, the department has not been able to take up the new projects which were identified for implementation in the various districts. During 10th  Five Year Plan, the targets fixed under the scheme have been achieved in full as many as 600 hectares have been covered under various land development measures like bench terracing, leveling and reshaping in the various project areas. 1000 Check Dams have been constructed & 30 Water Harvesting Tanks have also been constructed, 500 mts of Projection Bunds have also been raised to protect the agriculture lands from soil erosion.

Since the Revenue component has been transferred to Non-Plan Sector and only Capital Component has been retained under Plan. During Annual Plan 2008-09, an outlay of Rs.35.00 lacs was approved under Capital Component on account of subsidy on community works/individual works. Against this, the expenditure has been made to the tune of  Rs. 73.39 lacs ending March, 2009. As the additionality of Rs.39.00 lacs was provided in the District Sector Anantnag. The outlay for 2009-10 has been fixed at Rs.35.00 lacs as per the ceiling communicated by the Government.

 
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