Srinagar- Kashmir has witnessed a bumper rice crop this year even after the land under paddy cultivation decreased by nearly 10 per cent over the past few years.
Farmers and officials of the agriculture department were also worried about the paddy yield this year, due to incessant rains and cold weather during the sowing season in May-June this year.
“In the month of March, April and May there were heavy rains because of which we were also fearing about the fate of staple food crop (paddy) but simultaneously we tried our best and also did sowing a second time,” Director Agriculture Mohammad Iqbal Chaudhary said.
Chaudhary said the department launched a campaign for transplanting seedlings even in June.
“… more than 5 to 10 per cent extra productivity per hectare is expected as more than 90 per cent crop has already been harvested,” he added.
The director said the bumper crop has boosted the morale of farmers, as the rate of rice in the local market has crossed Rs 50 per kilogram.
“We are trying to boost the morale of the farmers community as local market rates of rice have already crossed 50 rupees per kg and also muskbudhji that also got GI tag.
“Our farmers sold Mushkbudji at Rs 260 per kilogram in the recently held GI mahotsav. The rate last year was Rs 130 per kilogram,” he said. AC Chaudhary said the rise yield has increased even though the acreage under Paddy cultivation has decreased.
“The seed quality alone plays a vital role in the productivity of the crop, which can increase 20 to 25 per cent. At present, around 1.29 lakh hectares is under paddy cultivation. As per revenue records, it was 1.40 lakh hectares just a few years back,” he added.
Chaudhary said the policy of 33 per cent seed replacement every year has helped in increasing the yield.
“We are supposed to provide 50 per cent seed for the cross pollinated crops and to arrange the hundred per cent seed replacement for the hybrid crops with regards to the paddy. This year we have supplied more seeds as compared to the previous years,” he said.
Sabeel Ahmad Rather, a farmer, said the rice yield was cold this year.
“Kashmir rice is famous due to its good taste which is because this crop is cultivated only once in a year. We are thankful to the Almighty that this year’s production is good,” he added.
The agriculture sector is providing livelihood opportunities for labourers from outside Kashmir.
Ahmad Hussain, a labourer, said he enjoys working in Kashmir as he gets good wages and free food. “We enjoy working here as we get good wages and food also. People are helpful here and the weather is also pleasant… We are earning Rs 600 to 800 per day,” he added.
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