Harvesting Traditional Edible Plant Resources – Jammu and Kashmir Latest News | Tourism

CM Sharma
George Washington said long ago, “Agriculture is man’s healthiest, most useful, and noblest source of employment. The statement refers to the three dimensions of human needs which are respectively health, wealth and wisdom. However, a large majority of today’s population may not agree with this statement!
Catalyzed by scientific interventions and inventions, people’s desire to switch to comfortable lifestyles is multiplying rapidly and completely changing the world. Higher agricultural production per unit area and time has been achieved through higher levels of awareness, knowledge and technology, but simultaneously the value of manual labor and animal traction in agriculture has declined.
Tampering, the indiscriminate use of chemicals, and the shift from traditionally sustainable agricultural practices to exhaustive farming systems have turned agriculture into one of man’s most polluting, uneconomical, and unimpressive sources of employment. over the past decades. The impact is pronounced in countries and regions where populations are dense, farm sizes are small, cultivable land is scattered and agriculture is rainfed or arid.
The J&K government has implemented various own programs and center-sponsored programs/central sector programs for the welfare of farmers and “agro-entrepreneurs” over the past few years. These have contributed to higher production through the adoption of improved varieties, hybrid seeds and animal breeds. Gains are significant in some of the major field crops like rice, corn, wheat and vegetables, low chill apple varieties, high density fruit plantations, floriculture marketing, livestock dairy, sheep and animal husbandry, fish farming, etc.
However, it is constantly observed that great attention is still needed on guiding farmers to work in a collaborative and missionary mode in order to meet the triple demand of “technology, inputs and financing” for upgrading. regular use of agricultural systems based on agro-climatic zones, growth strategies based on the sub-region and establishment of agro-industrial enterprises involving efficient management of land, soil and water, traditional/indigenous crops of high value, organic farming, integrated use of pesticides and fertilizers, greater mechanization in the hills and plains, quality control processes for inputs and products, in addition to post- on-farm and off-farm harvesting and marketing to maximize income and job creation. of all viable options for agricultural producers, for better economic returns. However, no government can afford to lose sight of supporting farmers through market interventions in times of crisis.
When it comes to the conservation, promotion and utilization of the high value traditional edible resources of Jammu agriculture, it is needless to point out that the region abounds in plant biodiversity. It is however depressing to note that these natural resources are exploited to the bare minimum, despite their high nutritional, medicinal and economic value. There is little or no added value to these products although most of them are organic by default. Anardana, Olive, Honey (especially taken from the flowers of Solai bushes (Plectranthusrugosus), Ganthia Thom of Udhampur, Rajmash of Bhaderwah, Marwah and Paddar etc., Tarad, Colocasia, Maize of Rajouri and Poonch, Small millets like Cheena , Kangni and Salan from Doda and Kishtwar, Saffron from Kishtwar, Amluk (Perssimon/Date Plum), Ber (Zizyphus), Phalsa, Amla, Harad, Bheda, Bamboo etc. in Jammu, Kathua, Samba districts can yield rich dividends to farmers if specific clusters are further developed and strengthened for their value-added production and marketing to targeted consumers at a premium price to producers.Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand have not J&K?
It is heartening that the J&K State Advisory Board for Kisans Development has taken a pioneering step towards the revival of highly valued and ethnic Kashmiri edibles by organizing a workshop under the title “Reviving Fish Production , litter of Nadroo (Nelumbo nucifera), Adding value to chestnuts, its viability and entrepreneurship in Wular and Manasbal lakes” at Tagore Hall, Srinagar on June 21, 2022. The workshop will develop a strategy and program for comprehensive actions for the revival of the specified products focusing on SWOT analysis of the production systems by experts in the respective fields.The deliberations are likely to result in concrete recommendations for the improvement of the pathetic condition of the producers also .
We hope that such an initiative for traditional edible agricultural products from Jammu region will soon be replicated by Kisan Council under the general guidance of Financial Commissioner (Agriculture)/Addl. The Chief Secretary, who also happens to be the Vice Chairman of the J&K State Advisory Board for Kisans Development. availability and utilization of resources, in addition to establishing comprehensive baselines for input and output management processes and turnover.
Almost all major land use departments like Agriculture, Horticulture, Floriculture, Sericulture, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, Sheep Husbandry, Area Development Command and Agricultural Universities in Jammu- and Kashmir currently operate under the unified command and control of Atal Dulloo, IAS as the Finance Commissioner (Deputy Chief Secretary). His instructions to all subordinate departments to conduct a long-awaited census of agriculture and allied departments as soon as possible with the use of satellite-based and basic technologies, by a sufficiently trained workforce departments concerned, can produce better synergy, convergence and coordination in the framework and implement effective policies, programs and decisions for overall growth and sustainable development in this dynamic field; improving production efficiency and decreasing environmental degradation being the key to sustainability.
There have been many diversifications in land and water use patterns/systems in recent years for both agricultural and non-agricultural purposes, due to the acceleration of development works. It is high time that all operational departments re-evaluate these changes and establish correct benchmarks in all districts to enable a realistic assessment of progress. This will require a correct inventory of existing farming systems in digital mode, with details of resources, inputs used, production and income at the level of each farming family. The successive aggregation of data at the level of respective villages and panchayats, community development blocks, districts, divisions and finally the territory/state of the Union, will constitute a solid basis for the formulation of the agricultural production plans for the following seasons. Unfortunately, this aspect is the most ignored and often taken lightly. Obviously, it is not uncommon to see the Departments of Revenue (Statistics) and Agricultural Production come up with their own set of conflicting data. Needless to say, if our benchmarks are unrealistic, our development strategies, efforts and achievements are bound to go haywire!
Activities such as the proposed workshops have the potential to shed the required light on the status of relevant production groups, area and production data, crop agronomy and their nutritional and economic value, post-harvest management. harvesting and marketing techniques, in addition to scope and challenges. These workshops can point the way to restoring the agriculture of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir to the qualities of “health, utility and the noblest source of employment”.
The author is Dy. Director of Agriculture (Ret.)