Sustainability through agriculture diversification in Doda
Gajoth is a remote village located at a distance of 40 km away from Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Doda (Bhadarwah) at an Elevation of approximately 1,600 m amsl. The village is connected with the rest of the area with a mud laden Kaccha road. Administratively, this village comes under panchayat Gajoth Block and Tehsil Bhalla District Doda of Jammu and Kashmir. Majority of the villagers belong to the farming community and majority of them are marginal farmers having limited income from their agricultural enterprises. Scattered terraces and levelled fields are the prominent features of this village with sandy loam to clayey loam soil. Irrigation facilities are available in the low lying areas whereas, the area at upper reaches and sloppy land is majorly rainfed. Farmers primarily grow paddy in the low lying fields and maize on sloppy land during Kharif. Besides, oats and mustard are the main crops grown during rabi season. Earlier, farmers of this village practiced mixed farming using traditional production technologies resulting into the low yield. Mostly they used to grow local varieties and traditional method of crop cultivation.
Mean while, few innovative farmers of this area came in contact with Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) Doda, SKUAST Jammu during the year 2008-09. After that, KVK Doda imparted a series of on and off campus trainings for the farmers, farm women and rural youth; conducted front line demonstrations; method demonstration, field days, diagnostic visits and other associated extension activities on diversification in agriculture, organic farming and nursery raising of horticultural and floricultural crops etc in the village. As a result of frequent trainings and demonstrations by KVK Doda through various farm activities, some of the innovative farmers of the village have adopted farm diversification with pulses, seasonal vegetables, orchards (fruit trees) and flowers like marigold. Along with agriculture some other farmers have also established other allied enterprises like fishery, apiculture, poultry, dairy, vermicompost units etc. The establishment of vermicomposting units ensured the availability of organic manure for crop components as well as permit safe and productive disposal of organic wastes. Farmers also fetch handful earnings from the sale of vermicompost.
Diversification of their farms with pulses has resulted into the improvement of soil fertility. On an average, gain of Rs 35,000-47,000 per annum per farm has been reported by the farmers due to the adoption of agriculture diversification on scientific basis. Hind Bhushan, an innovative farmer of this village also received Growers Agricultural Samiti Award from Gujarat Government which includes citation and cash prize of Rs 51,000. Some other farmers have received Sammaan Pattar from various agricultural agencies of J and K State. Few farmers have becomes proficient in seed production of vegetables, oilseeds and pulses and raising nursery of fruit plants. Therefore, they have become an easily assessable source of seed and planting material in the same as well as nearby villages. The results of intervention of KVK Doda are visible among the farmers of this village as they have started cultivation of their land on scientific basis which has undoubtedly improved their economic conditions. Work initiated by the few farmers has spread among the fellow farming community of the village. Today, this village has become a role model and source of inspiration for the farming community in the district.
Ravneet Kour and Munish Sharma,