As harvest begins, farmers who followed govt’s advisory feel the pinch
Srinagar, Sep 16: Abdul Rehman is regretting his decision to not cultivate paddy this season, following the government’s advisory against growing the staple crop.
Majority of the farmers in Naidkhai and its adjoining villages in Bandipora district ignored the advisory issued well in advance in view of the dry weather the valley has been suffering.
While the entire area is preparing to harvest paddy, Rehman this year will have to spend a huge sum on buying rice from the government stores.
“The announcement was from the government and a few farmers of my area decided to grow maize and pulses. It was indeed a bad decision,” he said.
Irrigation and Flood Control Department (I&FC), which manages the water resources has issued an advisory for people over use of water resources.
The department earlier in April issued a circular for five districts of Kashmir in which farmerswere asked to replace paddy with other crops that require less water.
A minor proportion of the farmers in various district of the valley avoided growing the paddy crop, which didn’t prove productive for them.
The valley this summer witnessed timely rainfall during summers due to which the farmers are expecting a good yield of the season.
“After 2014, the quality and quantity of paddy were not satisfactory. In 2015, there was less snowfall followed by hail storms in 2016 and 2017. But this year we are expecting a good crop as the rainfall was sufficient despite less snowfall during winter,” said Ghulam Muhammad, a farmerfrom Dangerpora village of Pattan.
Farmers claimed that the panicky by the government had resulted in huge losses to many who followed the advisory.
“Agriculture is a source of income for many people in Kashmir. The government instead of finding the measures to deal with the situation created panicky among the farmers and has left many to suffer for the next year,” Manzoor Ahmad a farmer from Sangrama in north Kashmir said.
The state government’s Agriculture Department is also expecting a double production in rice crop for the year.
“We have more than 100 per cent quality rice for the season. Agriculture department continuously monitored the water situation and helped farmers timely,” said Director Agriculture Department, Syed Aijaz Ahmad Andrabi.
Saying that the Irrigation and Flood Control Department created panicky among farmers, he said the department owes an explanation for the “misleading” advisory.
“Farmers were worried and we had to issue counter-advisory for continuing with the paddy crop. The agriculture department should explain about their advisory,” Andrabi said.