SRINAGAR: Agriculture in Zanskar is confronted with multifaceted constraints and herculean challenges. Despite immense toil and hard work of the farming community, the farm returns so far have only been dismal. Extremely harsh winters, poor soil health, unavailability of quality inputs, geographic remoteness, poor road connectivity, small land holdings and lack of scientific know-how are some important factors that make profitable crop production an extremely daunting task in this region. KrishiVigyanKendraKargil-II Zanskar, in its endeavour to alleviate the distress of the local farming community, focused on prioritizing the pressing issues which need immediate attention under the instructions and overall guidance of Vice Chancellor SKUAST-K Professor J. P. Sharma & Director Extension Professor Dil Mohammad Makhdoomi. One such issue prioritized by the Kendra was identification of high yielding wheat varieties feasible for the region. The Kendra has been evaluating a wide range of crop varieties through On Farm Trials (OFTs) under variable climatic ecologies across the length and breadth of Zanskar. One of our most striking stories of 2021 from Zanskar is that of an OFT laid out by Kendra at the field of a tribal farmer named Mr.SherapChangriR/oTungri had harvest record wheat yield of 5.8 t ha-1, the highest ever recorded in the history of the Zanskar region.
At the time of harvesting, the Kendra organized a field day &invited farmers of surrounding villages and area specific partners to show them the actual yield that we obtained under high yielding varieties with best bet agronomic managements. Chief Executive Councillor (CEC), LAHDC, Kargil& Deputy Commissioner, Kargil also visited this wheat field prior harvesting and appreciated efforts of Kendra in transforming agriculture to secure livelihood of tribal farming community of remotest region. Dr.ShahnawazRasool Dar,Head KVK Kargil II Zanskar said that the aim of organizing this event was to push the promising technologies to other farmers and policy makers of the region.
High yielding varieties of wheat demonstrated in farmer participatory seed production mode seems to have created a much needed confidence among the local farming community. Based on performance of introduced varieties at the event, about 50 farmers have requested for the seed of these high yielding promising varieties. Sharing his views, Mr. SherapChangrisaid that such changes have much to offer in terms of nutritional and livelihood security of tribal farming community of high altitude Himalayan region.