Agriculture

Farmer’s Notebook: How an Entire Village in Jammu and Kashmir Took to Maize

Farmer's Notebook.No matter what crop may be cultivated – rice, wheat or any other – the challenge lies in getting a good yield. A good harvest means a little more money into the farmer’s pocket. Across the country, emphasis is being placed on increasing crop yield.

In Kashmir’s Poonch district, the small village of Digwar has been named a maize-growing area, with local farmers having been able to realise a good harvest from the crop.

Ninety per cent of the area in Digwar is under rainfed agriculture and maize is the most important kharif crop in the district.

Most who cultivate crops in the area are small-time farmers, and agriculture is the only source of livelihood for them. In recent years, the production of maize had remained stagnant, despite the introduction of several high yielding hybrids.

To bridge the gap between the actual yield and potential yield, the Poonch-based Krishi Vigyan Kendra  (KVK) adopted Digwar as a maize-growing village to increase production and productivity.

“The objective is to develop this village as a pioneer village in maize production in district Poonch as well as in state of Jammu and Kashmir,” says  Sanjay Swami of the KVK.

As a first step, discussions were held with farmers in 2015 to identify the major constraints in the production and productivity of maize.

Bansi Lal, maize farmer in J&K

Bansi Lal, maize farmer in J&K

 

During the talks it came to light that low yields were due to the non-availability of quality seeds, lack of technical know-how, poor agronomic practices like sowing by broadcasting, high seed rate, poor weed management (only manual weeding), imbalanced fertiliser application without soil testing (non-availability of potash and high cost of fertilisers), and high insect-pest and disease incidence. The farmers also complained about issues with marketing the crop.

A plan of action for the harvest season was prepared to address all the constraints.

“First, we conducted an awareness cum training programme to address the problems regarding maize cultivation. We then explained to the farmers the importance of soil testing and balanced fertilisation,” explains Dr. Swami.

Farmers were advised to adopt the scientific techniques recommended by the University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology in Jammu, where the KVK is based, to enhance the maize yield.

They were also apprised about the importance of line sowing, weed management and other practices to improve the yield of the maize crop.

Bansi Lal , a progressive farmer in the village, has proved to be a role model to others as he was able to realise the highest maize yields in the area – approximately 8-10 quintals per hectare, compared to 4-5 quintal harvest by others.

He explained to other farmers the technology he uses in farming and motivated them to do the same to increase their yield. An expert team regularly monitored the front line demonstrations.

“The data from the demonstration was compared with the data before the intervention of the KVK. The increase in income of the farmers due to the scientific cultivation of maize was highlighted to encourage other farmers to adopt maize cultivation and give the village Digwar an identity as maize village of Poonch district,” explained Swami.

For more details contact the office of the Programme Coordinator, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Sher-e-Kashmir, University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology, Jammu, Krishi Vigyan Kendra-Poonch,

Qazi Morah, Poonch-185101, J&K, Tele/fax: 01965-221796, E-mail: kvkpoonch@gmail.com, web: www.kvkpoonch.nic.in