Agri depts’ new hybrid mustard turns disastrous for Pulwama farmers

Agri depts’ new hybrid mustard turns disastrous for Pulwama farmers
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Unsuited to Kashmir climate, seed failed to ripen on time

PULWAMA: The newly introduced hybrid mustard seed has proved a hoax, spelling disaster for many farmers in district Pulwama as the variety failed to ripen on time. Farmers who sowed the variety are now destroying their crop to plant paddy instead.
Farmers living in Pulwama’s Laribal and Pathan accuse the Agriculture department of luring farmers by distributing the seeds without conducting a trial cultivation of them. According to official sources, these seeds were meant for distribution among progressive farmers for demonstration purposes on a Kanal of land but the same was distributed among many Pulwama farmers across 1,600 Kanals of land.
A farmer from Laribal village informed that around 15 farmers had sowed these new seeds on 25 Kanals of land. The farmers have similar complaints about the ripening of this mustard variety and are demanding compensation from the government.
Farmers from Pathan village said that the seeds were distributed by the Agriculture department among illiterate farmers who were promised that this variety would yield three times more than the traditional variety without conducting demonstration trials before introduction. “We were told that this variety will yield three times more produce than the traditional variety, but it proved a hoax as the crop didn’t adopt to local climatic conditions,” said Bilal Ahmad, adding that they sowed this new variety on seven Kanals of land.
Ghulam Muhammad, another villager from Laribal, told Kashmir Reader, “Half the crop has started blossoming in the middle of this month and half is yet to blossom. We are planning now to destroy this crop because if not then we will miss the paddy plantation.” He added that this variety would take more than a month for ripening and after that they would not be able to plant paddy.
In Pathan village, Bilal is not the only farmer who has fallen prey to this new mustard variety. The residents informed that around eight farmers sowed the new seeds in their land, which roughly measures around 30 Kanals.
Kashmir Reader accessed some reliable sources from the Agriculture department who said that this new variety of mustard seed, RVM-2, was supplied by the National Seed Corporation to the Agriculture department for trial purposes.
An expert from Agriculture department said that this variety of mustard failed in pod formation. “This variety failed to ripen on time because it needs more sun light/temperature, and that is why it will ripen late here because of climatic conditions,” Ghulam Muhammad, an agriculture expert, said..
An official from the Agriculture department said that they have received reports of late flowering and of this variety not having ripened yet, which according to him is not a positive sign.
When asked why the department distributed the variety without trials, he said, “The order of distribution comes from directorate, and even we were told that this crop fetches more quantity.”.
He added that they are in touch with higher authorities on this matter. “We are making assessments of losses and we are in touch with higher authorities about providing compensation to the farmers,” he said.
Chief Agriculture Officer, Pulwama, Mohammad Yusuf Shah told Kashmir Reader that the intention of the department was to have more gains with farmers with the introduction of this variety. “Yes, it is true, this variety didn’t ripen on time as farmers have yet to plant paddy. We have taken stock of this issue and even submitted a report to higher ups for compensation,” he said while adding that it was for trial basis that too for one Kanal of land for those farmers who were willing and it was under directions from the Directorate of Agriculture.