Dr. Banarsi Lal and Dr. Pawan Sharma
Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir is situated in the Shivalik hills and is around 80 Km away from Jammu. This district is located at 1,528 meters above sea level and is predominantly a hilly district. It is one of the oldest towns of J&K. The district comprises of nine Tehsils and twelve blocks as per new statistics. There are 255 villages and 147 Panchayats in the district. Total geographical area of the district is about 1719 Sq. Km. It is the 13th largest district in Jammu and Kashmir. Most of the farmers of this district are small and marginal and about 94 per cent area of the district is rainfed. Major crops grown in this district are maize, wheat and paddy. Some belts of the district are known for vegetables such as okra, bottle gourd, cabbage, cauliflower etc. Farmers of this district are having very limited resources and lack the advance system in agriculture. 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. In some parts of the district, some farmers are leaving the agriculture because of monkey-menace. But there is huge potential of advance agriculture in the district.Sirah village is about 13 Km away from world famous religious place Katra in Reasi. This village is situated near the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi (SMVD) University and Super Speciality Narayana hospital. There are around 150 families in the village. There are two primary schools, one Delhi Public School (DPS) higher secondary school, three Angadwadi centres, three temples and one mosque in the village. The major occupation of the people is agriculture but there is no source of irrigation as the village is totally rainfed. The village has huge potential in diversified agriculture. The village is blessed with many progressive and innovative farmers. The village is equipped with vermicompost units, biogas unit, tractors, reaper-cum-binder, disc harrows, ferti-seed drills, rotaveter etc. The village is having around 100 hectares of land where the farmers are doing the diversified farming. Initially, the farmers were growing maize, wheat and few local varieties of vegetables, as their forefathers were doing. They were using the traditional technologies in their fields and monkeys and boars were the great threats. They were lacking the scientific knowledge of diversified agriculture. Then they came in contact with the KVK Reasi scientists. KVK scientists started regularly visiting their farms and scientifically guided and motivated them to use new agricultural technologies at their farms. The efforts of KVK were synergised by the department of Agriculture and allied departments. They were motivated for diversified agriculture in a scientific way. Scientific cultivation of cereals, pulses, oilseeds, fruits, organic vegetable, lemon grass farming etc changed their life. KVK Reasi organised the trainings/ awareness programmes/ Kisan Ghosties/ field days on diversified agriculture in the Sirah village. Farmers were also facilitated to develop the marketing channels. Katra has an immense potential for the marketing of their farm produce. Year-by-year they started to generate more and more income and employment. A lot of farmers including Tilak Raj, a progressive farmer in the village was highly impressed with the technical guidelines given by the KVK scientists and presently Tilak Raj is having one reaper-cum-binder, rotaveter, disc harrow, ferti- seed drill, maize sheller, two thrashers, two tractors etc. He possesses 160 mango plants, 80 guava plants, 6 litchi plants, 60 banana plants, 35 citrus plants, 10 papaya plants, 15 aonla plants, 7 pear plants and 164 agro-forestry trees. He is also having one Gobar gas plant and one vermicompost unit. There are many other farmers in the village who have become agri-enterpreneurs like Tilak Raj. The village farmers have become an example of success and motivating factor for other farmers in adjoining areas. KVK scientists too motivated other farmers of adjoining villages for the diversification in agriculture as it can change their socio-economic status. In 2016-17, KVK Reasi has introduced the new varieties of aromatic and medicinal plants and have promoted lemon grass farming and phalsa farming in around 100 Kanals of land of the village in collaboration with the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP)-Lucknow and Indian Institute of Integrative Medicines (IIM)-Jammu to minimise the effect of monkey-menace in the area. Presently district administration Reasi is facilitating the farmers to sale their lemon grass oil products. District administration of Reasi also supported the farmers by establishing the lemon grass distillation unit in the village with the co-ordination of IIIM-Jammu.KVK in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and allied departments in the form of farmer’s trainings, vocational trainings, front line demonstrations, farmers-scientists interaction, farmers’ exposure visit, field days, Kisan Ghostis, campaigns, dissemination of production technologies through radio, TV, extension literature etc. have led to increase in agricultural diversification in the village. Gradually, many farmers of the area are becoming interested in scientific diversification in agriculture. They have developed a good rapport with the KVK scientists and always participate in the agricultural extension activities conducted by the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) Reasi. KVK was highly co-ordinated by the district administration, Reasi. Before KVK interventions, farmers of Sirah village were using traditional technologies for diversified agriculture and were doing the subsistence agriculture but with the new scientific technologies of diversified agriculture, they enhanced their annual income. By growing the different crops, the farmers are fetching more prices. Observing the successful results of different crops in Sirah village, the other farmers of the adjoining villages are also showing keen interest for diversified agriculture.With the introduction of scientific technologies of different crops the farmers are able to generate extra income and employment. With the introduction of vermicompost units, the farmers are able to fulfil the need of the required soil nutrients in the organic vegetables growing. 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. They exhibit their organic farm produce in different farmers’ fairs organised by SKUAST-J and allied departments, recognised by the different organisations. Their efforts for diversified farming were highly appreciated by Ex-DG, ICAR, Dr.S. Ayappan, Union Minister Dr. Jatinder Singh, former Governor of J&K N.N.Vohra, Ex-Vice Chancellor of SKUAST-J Dr.P.K.Sharma, former Minister Ajay Nanda and Vice Chancellor of SKUAST-J, Prof. J. P Sharma and Deputy Commissioner of Reasi, Indu Kanwal Chib during the various farmers’ fairs and other extension activities conducted within and out of district. Tilak Raj, a progressive farmer of this village was felicitated by the then Governor of J&K State N. N. Vohra in a farmer fair organised by the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Jammu (SKUAST-J) as a progressive diversified farmer in 2013-14. In 2016-17 he was again honoured by Union Minister Dr. Jatinder Singh in the farmers fair organised by Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Reasi. He was also appreciated by the former Vice Chancellor of SKUAST-Jammu Prof.P.K.Sharma, Deputy Commissioner Reasi, Indu Kanwal Chib and Vice Chancellor of SKUAST-J, Prof. JP Sharma for his efforts for diversified agriculture. Shail Singh another farmer from this village was awarded in the farmers fair organised by SKUAST-J in 2015-16 for promoting the scientific horticulture in Reasi district.
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