Dr. Banarsi Lal and Dr. Vikas Tandon Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory lies in the North West of the country. Bamboo cultivation has immense potential in J&K. There is need to popularize bamboo cultivation particularly in the wastelands of J&K. It can be a source of extra income and employment for the farmers of the J&K. Bamboo production is a highly commercial industry and its cultivation reduces the soil erosion. Reasi is a hilly district of Jammu and Kashmir which is located at around 80 Km away from Jammu and is at 1,528 meter above mean sea level. As per 2011 Census, the population of this district is 3, 14,714. It was carved from Udhampur district on 1st April, 2007. This district is surrounded by Udhampur, Rajouri, Jammu, Ramban and Shopian districts. This district of Jammu and Kashmir is world famous because it is an abode of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine. The Chenab River passes through this district which is another centre of attraction in the district. Reasi district is having immense scope in bamboo cultivation and there are certain areas in Reasi district where bamboo is grown commercially. Most of the farmers of Reasi district are small and marginal and crops are mostly cultivated under rain fed (about 94 per cent) conditions. Major crops grown in this area are maize, wheat, paddy, mash and potato. Farmers of this district are having very limited resources and mostly they adopt the subsistence system of agriculture. The yield of all the crops is low as compared to the national and state average yields. The adoption percentage of modern agricultural technologies is low resulting in the low socio-economic status of the farmers. There are various insect-pests and disease problems in the district. Boars and monkeys too damage the crops to a large extent in this particular district causing a huge loss to the farmers. Agroforestry has immense potential in the district as large part of the district comes under forests. If grown scientifically, bamboo can play the pivotal role in enhancing the income and employment among the farmers of the district. Bamboo is an important plant gifted by nature in tropical and subtropical areas. It is also called as wonder plant, green gold, emperor of all grasses, wood of the poor, etc. It is used by the people in their every-day utilities. It is closely interwoven with the life of the people in several ways. It can be used as a food, fodder, construction material, paper, mats, musical instruments, etc. Bamboo has multiple economical, ecological and social values. Bamboo has manifold uses from cradle to coffin. Bamboo has many uses as a substitute for fast depleting wood and as an alternative to more expensive materials. It can be used in paper industry, to make small footbridges, water pumps, irrigation pipes etc. In rural areas it can be used as fodder, in making brooms, food, buckets etc. Nutrient analysis of edible bamboos indicated that it contains 77 per cent to 84 per cent moisture, 4 per cent to 7 per cent protein, 5 per cent carbohydrates, 12-13 mg/100G vitamin C and Na, K, Ca, Mg and P as minerals. Bamboo has the potential for checking soil erosion, fast vegetative growth cover to deformed areas and road embankment stabilization. Bamboo tensile strength is 28,000 per square inch versus 23,000 for steel. It can be used for making pillars, roofs, ceiling, walls etc. It can be used to make medicines to treat asthma, cough and fever etc. It is also used to make certain structures in earthquake prone areas, in music and arts. Shafanoo village is about 40 Km away from world famous religious place Katra in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir. The village is around 10 Km. away from Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Reasi and farmers of this village seek technical guidelines from KVK scientists. This village is situated in the remote area of Reasi district and is lacking the road and communication connectivity. There are about 350 families in the village. The major occupation of the people is agriculture and the village is known for the commercial cultivation of bamboo. Most of the farmers of the village do the commercial cultivation of bamboo. There are three Govt. primary schools, two Angadwari centres and one Janj Ghar in the village. The village is having around 250 hectares of land. There is no source of irrigation in the village and the village is 100 per cent rain fed. There are about 250 progressive bamboo growers in the village who are producing the bamboo at a commercial level. They have made furnaces in the village where the bamboos are moulded according to their use. The bamboos of this village are very strong and are used for the building purpose, baskets, stairs, nets, for flags etc. The farmers’ sale their produce in local market, Jammu and even in Kashmir province at the rate of Rs.100-120 per bamboo. Generally the farmers of this village fetch more money by selling their bamboos but this year due to COVID-19 pandemic their market has been influenced. Farmers also grow maize, wheat and few local varieties of vegetables as their forefathers were doing. Monkeys and wild boars are the great threats in their fields. Most of the agricultural produce is consumed by their families with very little surplus to sell. So bamboo is the main livelihood source of the farmers of this village. The technical guidelines on scientific bamboo cultivation are provided by the KVK, Reasi. With the generation of extra income, the farmers developed confidence to mitigate their basic problems. A self- reliance and entrepreneurial spirit has been developed among the farmers. Shafanoo farmers’ success in commercial bamboo cultivation is inspiring the other farmers of the area and they are also shifting towards the commercial bamboo for better economic returns. Gradually many farmers of the area are becoming interested in commercial bamboo cultivation. Bamboo cultivation helped to overcome the problem of monkeys menace in the village as bamboo crop is not damaged by the monkeys. According to a local farmer, Payar Hussain, the village is known for bamboo production and quality bamboo is being produced by our village farmers. The village farmers want some bamboo processing units in the village so that income and employment can be generated in the village. It can generate more income and employment in the village. Farmers are showing keen interest on the capacity building for bamboo processing. According to the Naib Sarpanch of the village, Ratan Lal, “We face problems to sell our bamboo produce but if some industries on bamboo processing are established in the village then whole scenario of the village can be changed. New avenues for more income and employment can be generated for the villagers.” Many farmers grow bamboos in and around their farmlands to increase their farm income. The development of artisan skills for handicrafts and wider utility of bamboo can provide more employment opportunities and better income distribution for the people of this village. There is a dire need to aware the bamboo growers about the latest information on introduction, phenology, reproductive biology, propagation, exchange of germplasm, conservation status, etc. There is also a need for the introduction of other species of bamboo of ethno biological significance. It has been observed that most of the bamboo growers are lacking up-to-date information on ecological and growth parameters, morphological variability’s, conservation value, methods for multiplication etc. GIS based information system can be developed for the protected areas. Bamboo processing units can raise the socioeconomic status of the farmers of this village. Ethno biological approach can be adopted towards the cultivation, preservation of rare and threatened species of bamboo in this village.
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