Production increases 10 pc compared to last year: Officials
Paddy harvesting in full swing across Kashmir
BUDGAM: Due to uncontrolled urbanization in the Kashmir Valley, from 1,35,000 hectares of land under paddy cultivation seven years earlier, the land currently under paddy cultivation has come down to 1,29,000 hectares, according to Department of Agriculture.
Despite that there has been a significant increase in rice yield per hectare. “This year, there is going to be a record yield as our estimates suggest that the yield per hectare will be between 63 to 65 quintals this year as compared to last year’s 60 quintals per hectare. This is because of the fact that the paddy cultivation was done at the most opportune time this year (before June 15) and was later helped by timely rains and proper temperature for the crop to flourish. As the mornings and evenings grow colder with each passing day, the rice straw in the paddy fields across Kashmir has turned gold, and harvesting of the crop is in full swing these days.
Officials said that paddy production has increased over 10 percent compared to last year and there is good news for the farmers as the Meteorological Department has predicted dry weather for a week. Mostly during the harvesting, many are desperately following weather-related predictions so that the harvesting will be done safely.
Rice is staple food in Kashmir and the crop has the distinction of being the most extensively cultivated across Kashmir and Jammu divisions. The area under the rice is distributed by both regions of which about 60 percent is from Kashmir and 40 percent is from the Jammu division. In Kashmir, paddy harvesting normally starts in September and lasts till the end of October. It is an interesting period that changes attitude immediately because of the upcoming season of paddy crops. Farmers are busy with paddy harvesting paddy in various districts including Budgam district of central Kashmir. Men and women are working hard and trying to finish harvest paddy from the fields as clear weather is forecast for a week. “Harvesting is a time-consuming process which needs collective effort rather than a single man’s capacity,” Nissar Ahmed, resident of Kuzwera Chadoora Budgam told the STATE TIMES.
“Working together is very important in paddy fields as this work seems a little difficult.”, he added.
He said that during the season almost all members of the family get involved in this practice. But since few years local people, especially young generation is showing less interest in paddy harvesting ,that is why now we are totally dependent on non-local labour force.
“Among the family, the children can’t harvest but they fetch food for others working in the fields,” he said, adding that the paddy harvesting is the primary step which takes two or three days.
Another farmer, Shafaqat Ahmed said, “This year, the farmers are delighted at the increased production of the paddy and exclaimed that suitable weather aided better production of paddy compared to the previous year, with the help of new seed varieties the quality and quantity of paddy crop has been increased.
The climatic conditions for paddy this year were almost favourable and the exact percentage of increase in production will come after October 15.Because of the extreme climatic conditions in Jammu Kashmir, rice is only grown once a year.
Experts from SKAUST K said that these days, Kashmir is witnessing vertical growth in rice cultivation because of utilization of resource-efficient technology and our research and development institutions. “Even though it is a sad reality that we are losing agricultural land to built-up areas, I hope this trend stops very soon so that we are able to make good use of our land,” he said and added that it is not only about rice cultivation. “We can even grow vegetables on a far greater scale than we do currently if land resources are utilized properly”, he added.