Timely seed distribution and prompt extension service sustains Agriculture activity in Kashmir

Srinagar: With about 70% population directly or indirectly involved with Agriculture and rural population primarily dependent on this activity, the Agriculture Production department has been taking steps to reach out to the farmers in Kashmir to ensure that this activity carries on unhindered during the lockdown and covid-19 situation.
Agriculture department is trying to minimize the adverse effects of Covid pandemic and encouraging farmers to continue with cultivation of rice, maize, wheat, oil seeds, saffron, pulses, pea, oats, etc during rabi and kharief seasons.
“When the lockdown was announced in Jammu and Kashmir, the harvesting of Rabi crops had already started in the valley. With announcement of certain exemptions allowing resumption of certain economic activities including agriculture, the department has taken the responsibility to provide all assistance and expertise to the farmers. It has been spreading general awareness about observing social distancing while going to work in the fields,” a senior official of Agriculture department said in a statement.
“To cope with the shortage of agricultural labour, the department has channelized locals and family resources to harvest Rabi crops like wheat, oil seeds and oats. The department has asked young and healthy farmers to engage themselves in the agriculture activity and to take adequate precautions while elderly have been advised to stay safe at home,” he added.
While adopting proactive approach, the officers and field functionaries have been asked to strictly adhere to the guidelines laid down for the containment and management of COVI-19 pandemic. “Recently a team of experts and agriculture officials visited Padgampora farm area to interact with the farmers and on the occasion, masks and gloves were distributed among the farmers and they were sensitized about the Covid-19 disease and the precautionary measures to be taken while in the fields,” the officer stated.
Agriculture department has also started 24X7 helpline to answer the queries of farmers and a dedicated team of experts has been nominated for the purpose. The main objective of setting up the helpline is to answer the queries of farmers and to make sure that every farmer and grower can access to credible and accurate information regarding different field crops and other agriculture activities on ground.
“In March and April, as farmers start sowing of seeds, the agriculture department would normally distribute seeds and seedlings among the farmers through division and district level offices, but during this crisis the department has taken up distribution of seeds by home delivery and this practice would continue to minimize the movement of farmers”, the department said.
As per the statement released by the department, it has distributed 10234 quintals of paddy, 2740 quintals of maize, 164 quintals of moong, 6.14 quintals cowpeas, 3038 quintals of potato, 5 quintals of vegetable seeds and 15.7 quintals of fodder seeds, besides lakhs of kitchen garden seedlings are being distributed on daily basis.
Under the campaign “AAYEIN SABZI UGAYEIN” department of Agriculture Kashmir last month distributed seedlings for kitchen garden among the public at Lalmandi. “This campaign is aimed to ensure maximum reach so that growers and public in general make good use of spaces and benefit from healthy produce of vegetables in these extra ordinary circumstances. The Department is committed to promote Kitchen Garden Scheme and provide quality vegetable seedlings to the growers which, besides fulfilling domestic requirement, could create surplus vegetables to be dispatched to other markets. At present, the locally grown vegetables are coming in the market to fulfill the demand and the surplus produce is being supplied to other states,” said Joint Director Agriculture dealing with the subject.
Agriculture department is also confident about the availability of fertilizers saying that adequate quantity is available in the stocks. The Department has been striving hard to increase the production level of various crops including food crops. To achieve this objective the department is implementing a number of centrally sponsored schemes and sensitizing farmers about advantages of adopting latest technology to enhance the production, according to a statement released by the department.