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No, No, the yield has not doubled, it has gone much higher than that; Ghulam Mohammad Lone from Chourvan village in Gurez responded with confidence when Dr Parveen Kumar from KVK-Gurez asked him to share his experiences about the productivity of wheat from Shalimar Wheat-2 seed provided to him by KVK Bandipora-II (Gurez). Like him, there are many other farmers in different villages of the beautiful valley of Gurez brimming with confidence and joy after the harvest of wheat and maize.
The beautiful Gurez located on the left side of the mighty Kishanganga with its turquoise water meandering through this valley is in the news for more than one reason. Village Dawar of this valley has been declared as the best tourism village in the country by the Union Ministry of Tourism. Dawar bagged the award in the golden category across all villages in the country. Besides emerging as a tourist hot spot, Gurez now a day is witnessing another revolution and this revolution pertains to the phenomenal increase in wheat and maize productivity in this region. This has been made possible by Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Bandipora-II (Gurez) by its intervention in the form of quality seed supply of wheat and maize and sensitization of farmers on their scientific cultivation.
According to Dr Bilal Ahmad Bhat Programme Coordinator KVK-Gurez, the farming community here has been using old local varieties of wheat and maize whose productivity is too low. The crude methods of sowing and cultivation of these crops further worsened the things. Last year when the KVK-Gurez came into existence, seed varieties of wheat and maize developed by SKUAST-K and specific to the climatic conditions of Gurez were distributed among the farmers of this region. Wheat (Shalimar Wheat-2) and Maize (Kishanganga -2/KG-2) have been developed by SKUAST-Kashmir and are best suited to the microclimate of this region. Besides providing seed, the farmers were also sensitized on various aspects of their cultivation like land preparation, seed rate, control of weeds, time of sowing, dose of manures, appropriate time for various inter-culture operations, right time of harvesting and storage of produce.
Dr Parveen Kumar from KVK-Gurez elaborated further saying that due to harsh winters, the agricultural activities are here confined to six months in a year. Maize, wheat, rajmash, peas and potato along with vegetables like cabbage, cauliflowers, tomato, knolhol, peas and leafy ones are grown in the short growing season available in this region. The size of land holdings here is small and land holdings lay as small fragments in many places. Mechanization here is a difficult task given the topography and terrain of land in this mountainous tract. People can be seen manually ploughing their small fields with spades. Farmers are still using outdated varieties which give very low yields. Besides climatic vagaries, the farming community here is confronted with so many constraints. These constraints include lack of quality seeds/seedlings, lack of credit facilities, lack of marketing support, no linkages, low yield of crops and livestock and much more.
Gurez has three zones comprising – lower Bagtore, middle Dawar and upper Tulail. Seeds of HYVs of Wheat and Maize were provided to farmers located in all three zones of Gurez. Different villages that were covered included, Koragbal, Izmarg, Tarbal, Dassi, Achoora, Purana Tulail, Markote, Chourvan, Nayal, Dawar, Sheikhpura, Zizisheikh. A preliminary survey conducted soon after the establishment of KVK at Gurez also revealed that the major constraint faced by the farming community and limiting the agricultural productivity in this region was the use of local varieties. In fact, the same variety has been continued for the last so many years in this region. KVK-Gurez with the help of the National Seed Project (NSP) and Dryland Agriculture Research Station (DARS) of SKUAST-Kashmir managed to arrange quality wheat and maize seed for them. The seeds of both crops were given to the farmers and the rest has become history. It is now altogether a different story in this valley as far as maize and wheat production is concerned.
Dr Kumar further said that it was necessary to evaluate the performance of both the varieties of wheat and maize in this region. Data about the yield per unit area and the perception of farmers regarding these varieties was taken from the farmers. Results were beyond imagination and expectations. It definitely brought satisfaction for KVK-Gurez, NSP and DARS as well as for the farming community. Farmers from far-flung and remote villages of Chourvan Budugam and Achoora located in the upper Tulail zone expressed their satisfaction with the Shalimar Wheat-2. Similarly, farmers from the lower Bagtore zone in the villages of Tarbal, Dassi, Koragbal, and Nayal were happy with the yield of KG-2.
An interesting thing is the measurement of productivity in this region. Usually, it is measured in production land per unit area; but here in this region productivity is the production per unit of the seed sown. Mr Lone said that from 20 kg of local wheat seed which they used to sow on not more than 1 kanal of land; they could not get more than 50 to 60 kg of wheat. But when the same area was sown with 5-6 kg of Shalimar wheat -2, the yield was more than one quintal. This increase was phenomenal. Similarly, another farmer said that from 3 kilograms of seed sown in half of kanal he got 50 kg of wheat. The farming community was also impressed by the no. of tillers per plant, the size of grains and the quality of straw obtained from this variety.
The success of the farming community with Kishanganga-2 was also quite evident on their faces. In lower and middle zones farmers from Dassi, Tarbal, Nayal and Koragbal maize production was at an all-time high. Mr Ghulam Hassan Bhat, a progressive farmer from Dassi village told the KVK-Gurez team that the no. of cobs per plant of KG-2 is not less than two, unlike the local varieties which had only one cob per plant. The size of the cobs and that of grains in the cobs is also bigger. The plant attains a greater height, has more biomass and is thus an excellent source of nutrition as animal fodder. Farmers cultivating the KG-2 variety have also reported a doubling of maize yield. The adoption of scientific cultivation practices such as line sowing has also reduced their seed requirement per unit area to one-third. The increase in production coupled with the reduction in the cost of cultivation has resulted in a considerable increase in their income. Moreover, the perception that farming is a non-remunerative enterprise is also fast fading away.
Programme Coordinator KVK-Gurez further said that owing to the positive feedback obtained from the farming community of this valley, KVK-Gurez is already on the job to bring more and more area under these two varieties by ensuring that the seed of these two varieties is made available to them well in time and in more quantity.
One of the writers is a Scientist and another is the Head at KVK-Gurez. Feedback at [email protected]


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