By Tasneem Mubarak:
Rice is a staple food of the majority of the world population and India is the leading rice Producing country in terms of area and is the second largest producer next to China.
In Jammu and Kashmir, it is a staple food for the people of temperate Kashmir Valley and its cultivation extends from the planes having altitude 1600 m above the mean sea level to high altitude hills 2300 m above MSL in the valley.
Ever expanding the population and shrinking land and other natural resources however demand a higher per unit area production with judicious natural resource management. Since it is a staple food for the people of the valley, so ample attention has been and will be paid to crop improvement and extension strategies related to this crop. Development of new varieties with higher yield potential and desirable charters has been very crucial in bridging the enormous gap between production and the potential.
The contribution made by the State Agriculture University SKUAST-Kashmir through MRCFC-SKUAST, Kashmir and other Divisions in the development of varieties and a related package of practices is immense. The bigger challenge, however, is the transfer of technologies from research fields and labs to the farmers’ field and here comes the role of extension machinery in the state. As evident from the recent data, both Directorate of Extension SKUAST-Kashmir through KVKs and Directorate of Agriculture through district Agriculture departments have done commendable work in terms of transfer of technologies in almost all the major field crops.
Frontline demonstration programmes coupled with quality seed availability and technical backstopping through extension system have played a key role in this regard.
Recent data of the year 2017-18 reflects a quantum jump in production and productivity of rice in district Kulgam over the last 7 year from 2010-11. Rice production and productivity in the district were 798723 quintals (q) and 48.67 q/ha, respectively which touched an overwhelming figure of 1077760 q and 67.36 q/ha. That means around 35% and 38.4% increase in production and productivity which reflects a very positive development so far as new crop varieties and their popularization through a different programme of state agricultural university and agriculture development department is concerned.
One thing is quite clear from these figures that coordination among different agencies at the district level is bringing fruits to the efforts. Since is doing its good job and so is the extension machinery but policies related to land use need to be implemented immediately to avoid the crisis in the future. All stakeholders must join hands and overcome the obstacles together as a single family with a strong will and commitment to serve our farming community.
Unity has great power and can bring unimaginable changes in the world around us. Let us work together with more strong bonds and feel that enormous power of unity, bringing all-round prosperity in the society.
(The author is Dr. Tasneem Mubarak working as Sr. Scientist & Head KVK-Kulgam, SKUAST-Kashmir. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)