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Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs): Agricultural Knowledge Hubs
8/11/2020 12:27:01 AM

Dr. Banarsi Lal and Dr.AS Charak

Agriculture is the mainstay of J&K and livelihood of majority of population of this Union Territory revolves around agriculture. J&K is endowed with a wide range of agro-climatic conditions which are conducive for growing different kinds of crops. J&K has inherent agricultural potential. Agricultural development harbingers the overall growth and development of this Union Territory. J&K is a mountainous Union Territory in which about 30 per cent of the area is under cultivation. About 70 per cent area of J&K is under food crops. Judicious use of land is necessary to mitigate the growing needs of the increasing population of this UT by keeping the sustainability of soils, ecosystems and environment in view. The average size of land holding of the J&K is only 0.54 hectare as against 1.33 hectares’ land holding size on national basis. The agro-diversity of J&K varies from sub-tropical in Jammu region and temperate in Kashmir region. The average annual rainfall of these two regions is 1069mm and 660mm. The average temperatures of these two regions are 24.5 and 13.3 Centigrade respectively. Maize, wheat, paddy, pulses, oilseeds, potato and okra are the main crops of J&K. The farmers of J&K are now shifting towards high value crops such as flowers, vegetables, aromatic and medicinal plants, mushrooms etc. In some pockets of J&K Basmati rice, Rajmash, saffron, honey beekeeping etc. are also cultivated. Major part of J&K suffers from lack of irrigation facilities, remoteness, lack of transportation facilities, regular soil erosion, inaccessibility of quality agro-inputs etc. Lack of storage facilities, small size of land holdings, lack of agri-entrepreneurships, inaccessible terrains, lack of market networks, lack of farm mechanisation etc. are the other constraints for the farmers. These constraints hamper to increase the agricultural production in J&K and it further effects the income and employment generation in the rural areas. Although the production, productivity and area under different crops have increased over the years but still the development is slow. Cropping intensity of Jammu region is 176 per cent whereas in Kashmir region it is 123 per cent. The agriculture being less remunerative profession is unable to attract the rural youths of J&K towards agriculture. They are migrating towards urban areas to earn their livelihood. There is dire need to make some strenuous efforts to make agriculture a more remunerative profession.
There is urgent need to bridge the gap between production and consumption of food grains. There is also need to increase the income and employment in agriculture and allied sectors for the farmers of J&K. It has been observed that there is an immense potential to increase the production and productivity of different crops grown in J&K. There is need to enable the farmers to diversify their crop production by adopting the modern technologies in agriculture and establishing the infrastructure for the farm production. Diversification in agriculture needs to be promoted. This beautiful UT is blessed with ample natural resources including soil, water, climatic condition, diversity, topography, rich natural flora etc. which are conducive for the cultivation of a wide range of crops. About 58 per cent area under agriculture is rainfed and remaining 42 per cent is irrigated in J&K.
The Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) are considered as the resource centres for the agricultural technologies. They are also known as Farm Science Centers, a gross root level scheme which was designed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in the country. In India the first Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) was established in 1974 at Pudducherry under Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore by the ICAR, New Delhi. Presently, the ICAR has established 713 KVKs across the nation. In Jammu and Kashmir, the ICAR has established 17 KVKs under two agricultural universities SKUAST-Jammu, SKUAST-Kashmir and one KVK under Central Institute of Temperate Horticulture (CITH).SKUAST-J has 7 KVKs in Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Reasi, Rajouri, Poonch and Doda districts respectively while SKUAST-K has 10 KVKs in Anantnag, Bandipora, Budgam, Gandarbal, Pulwama, Kulgam, Kupwara, Shopian, Srinagar and Baramulla respectively. Kargil-I, Kargil-II (Zanskar), Leh-I and Leh-II are the four KVKs established in Ladhakh Union Territory.All these KVKs are working under the ATARI (Agricultural Technology Application Research Institute (ATARI), Zone-1 established at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. Three KVKs in Udhampur, Ramban and Kishtwar of Jammu region are still to be established. These KVKs are catering the needs of farmers of their respective districts and are providing expertise to the farmers. These KVKs are endeavouring to increase the income and employment among the rural areas of J&K. These KVKs have done exemplary work for the farmers of J&K and have established many success stories at national level. Farmers of these different districts of J&K are considering these KVKs as the knowledge hubs of agricultural technologies and every day they are seeking agricultural information/ knowledge from the KVK scientists. KVKs are also providing quality seeds and planting material to the farmers. The demonstration units established at the KVKs farms attract the farmers towards them. These KVKs are working on ‘learning by doing’ pattern as the farmers are trained for different enterprises. These KVKs are the nerves of the both agricultural universities i.e.SKUAST-J & SKUAST-J. These KVKs are mitigating the scientific agricultural needs of the farmers of Jammu and Kashmir and assisting the farmers to enhance their income and employment through technological interventions. These KVKs are playing a pivotal role in transformation in rural areas of J&K by upgrading the rural people with the latest agricultural technologies. These KVKs are immensely playing a crucial role in farmers’ prosperity. The KVKs of J&K have proved their worth to mitigate the agricultural needs of the farmers. They are doing the commendable work in J&K by transferring the latest agricultural knowledge to the farmers. These KVKs are able to empower the farmers/rural youths/women farmers through need-based farmers/vocational/skill development trainings. They are promoting the technology-led farming. They are stressing on maximum use of ICTs during COVID-19 so as to disseminate the agricultural latest knowledge even in far-flung areas. They are bridging the gap between the laboratories and farmland. These KVKs are working in collaboration with the Panchayati Rural Institutions, different departments, NABARD, NGOs, NYK etc. These KVKs are able to disseminate the agricultural information from lab to land. Follow-up of different capacity building programmes is always done by the multidisciplinary team of experts. For dissemination of agricultural information in the mass scale print and electronic media always support the KVKs. It has been observed that with the endevours of KVKs, the adoption rate of new agricultural technologies among the farmers is increasing substantially in J&K.
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