Deficit rain hits agriculture in Jammu region

July 31st, 2012 - 4:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu, July 31 (IANS) The Jammu and Kashmir government has, in view of the deficit monsoon this year, asked farmers in Jammu region to sow alternate crops that need less water.

“We have advised farmers to grow alternate crops like pulses and fodder in rain deficit areas,” said Ajay Khajuria, director of the department.

The Jammu region lies south of the Pir Panjal mountain range. According to the meterological department, the region has so far had 220 millimeters of rainfall, which is 45 percent below normal.

“This has adversely affected agriculture, especially the basmati rice, in the plains and maize in the hilly areas,” said Khajuria.

The delayed and deficit monsoon rains, he said, have “primarily delayed the transplantation of paddy, specifically in Ranbir Singh Pura area, which is known for best quality basmati.”

Said Sukhdev Singh of Maralia in Ranbir Singh Pura: “We are hit from all sides. There is hardly two to three hours of electricity daily and the irrigation department too releases water in canals according to their whims. It is already late to transplant paddy. We are in for bad times ahead.”

Jammu region has about four lakh hectares of land under agriculture, of which 35,000 hectares are under paddy farming. In other areas miscellaneous crops like maize, pulses and vegetables are grown.

In the hilly areas, farmers, who prefer sowing maize in this season, are also desperate. “Pulses and fodder cannot substitute for earnings by maize. Also, maize is our staple food which helps us live through the winter season,” said Alam Din of Darhal in Rajouri district.

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