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Agriculture Diversification in Kathua


Agriculture Diversification in Kathua

Dr. Narinder Paul



Agriculture diversification implies reallocation of the productive resources of farm such as land, labour, capital, machinery etc. into new income and employment generating activities. In context of the existing situation in our state, it means taking of allied agriculture vocations and even non-agriculture vocations, value addition, providing services to fellow farmers etc. in addition to the sowing of popular cereal based crops. To meet the metering requirement of food, fodder, fuel, fiber etc. agriculture diversification is need of the hour. It is being advocated that the farmers must adopt the practice of diversification in agriculture so that their socio-economic status could be raised to a desirable significant level. It is encouraging that, a number of farmers have adopted diversified agriculture and hence are reaping its fruits in Kathua district. Many farmers have come with flying colours and set up an example by becoming innovators of agriculture diversification.


Sanjay Kumar, a 36 years old young farmer from village Dadwara of Billawar Tehsil has set a glaring example of an adopter of crop diversification at his farm. His previous practice was to grow paddy and maize at his 8 Kanal of farm. Continuous droughts and crop failures had made his family disappointed and penury ridden. In the year 2005 he understood the concept of agriculture diversification from the field agriculture extension functionaries and made his mind to test the same at his farm as he foresaw the inherent potential in it. He decided to undertake marigold cultivation. In the year 2006-07, he undertook the cultivation of marigold on 2 Kanal 10 Marla of land produced 6.5 Quintal flower and earned profit of Rs 11,537 with in 5-6 months. Next year, he expanded the area to 4 Kanal and earned Rs 30,000 as profit. Now, he grows flowers at half of his farm land and at remaining half he grows cereals (Source: SDAO, Billawar)


Ruldu Ram, a 56 years old farmer from W. No. 5, Hiranagar has emerged as a successful vegetable grower. He started vegetable growing in the year 2007 when he understood the concept of diversification in agriculture. To begin with he grew vegetables on 10 kanal area of which he earned 1.5 lakhs. His interest grew and now he has more than 16 kanal of his total 120 kanal farm under the vegetable cultivation and is earning huge margin. Now he has followed trench vegetable cultivation and has got constructed a poly- house for early nursery raising.


Mohd. Amin from village Durung of Billawar Tehsil owns 8 Kanal of land and is a 50 year old govt. employee. Besides, he also undertakes agriculture as his secondary occupation.  He got convinced to the concept of diversified agriculture in the year 2006. He set up a vermin-composting unit at his farm to adopt organic farming of vegetables. From the compost he produced vegetables at 4 kanal of his land cereals in the rest of land. In the year 2007, he grew okra in 10 marla of land and earned profit of Rs. 25,500. Now he is planning to set up poly house to adopt protected vegetable cultivation especially raising early vegetable nursery (Source: JAA Dungara)


Ajay Bali is yet another 35 years old shopkeeper from Pathwal village of Hiranagar Tehsil who also takes agriculture as a subsidiary vocation. During the year 2009, he got information about vermicompost from the field functionaries of agriculture department and decided to set up a vermicomposting unit. He had an abandoned poultry shed in which he decided to start the composting process. To begin with he collected the raw material locally and got earthworms with the help of the department.  During the first year, he produced 6.5 Quintal of vermicompost. Half of which he used to grow vegetables at his farm and rest he sold to the nursery growers. This year he has expanded his unit and expecting to get high returns. Besides he says that vegetables grown with vermicompost are very easily sold and fetches a good price. Moreover he also suggests creating awareness among the people regarding the organic farming especially vegetable production.


Ranjeet Singh is a 64 years old farmer from village Ladwal of Hiranagar Tehsil. He has gained popularization as a progressive Apiculture farmer (Honey bee keeper) not only in the Tehsil but in the District as a whole. He got motivated to bee keeping in the year 1997 and set up an apiary of 10 bee colonies in 1998 from which he produced 50 kg of honey. In the year 1999, he increased the number of colonies to 20 and produced 2.40 Quintal of honey. With his hard work and dedication, the size of his apiary as well as yield and profit went on increasing. Later after training, he started division of his colonies. Now he not only sells honey but also bee colonies to the aspiring farmers. In the year 2009, he had 97 bee colonies. This year he sold his produce besides 20 colonies to other farmers and earned Rs. 1.48 Lakhs. He experienced as additional source of income from the vocation of bee-keeping which gave sustainability to his household. His future plan is to raise the number of bee-colonies to more than 250 and further strengthen his apiary unit.


Shakkel Ahmad Bhat, 35 and  Pritam Sharma, 55 years old farmers both from village Malhar and  Khushi Ram a 62 years old farmer from village Macchedi have become innovators in the District by starting saffron cultivation in the high reaches of Lohi- Malhar area. This year Department of Agriculture has introduced saffron cultivation in the hilly areas of the District during Kharif 2010. These farmers became convinced to introduce the cultivation of saffron at their farms and initially undertook its cultivation on 2 marla land each. The farmers have become ecstatic with the encouraging results of the crop. Their crops grew well and now at flowering stage. Their plan is to now expand its cultivation in the years to come (Source: AEO, Zone Lohi Malhar)


Parkash Chand is a 42 years old progressive mushroom grower from Kathua . He owns 2 kanal of land inn which he started mushroom growing in the year 2008. presently he earns 2.5 lakhs from this enterprise during the season and is interested to set up a spawn production laboratory to cater too the needs of the mushroom growers o the district.


Most often the diversification of small farms is considered as a potent means for rapid transformation of the rural areas. The average size of holding presently is so low that it can hardly generate adequate employment and income for the subsistence of the farmers. It is quite a significant development that a large number of the farmers from the District Kathua have adopted diversification in agriculture and have become the role models for other farmers. The need is to further propagate the practical adoption of diversification with a proper balance of food grains as well as subsidiary vocations to be adopted.   

(The author is Agriculture Extension Officer)




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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.