Hardly 23 percent adoption of Modern Agriculture Practices in Jammu

The Department of Agriculture, Jammu, lacks in spreading awareness of the technical advancements to increase the crop production amongst the small farmers and to convince them to adopt these improved techniques of farming. Hardly 23% of the Jammu farmers have adopted these new techniques till date.

Over the last 2 years, there are many improved varieties of techniques that have been promoted in the agriculture sector of Jammu. These include establishment of e-plant clinics, soil health card, improved mechanization of farming like rotavators, tellars, seed drill etc., organic farming, sprinkler and drip irrigation systems. People are aware of these advancements but are reluctant to adopt them. People are slowly adopting the new techniques of framing, but currently, there is lack of awareness among the farmers about the technical advancements.

There are so many reasons including financial crisis among the farmers of Jammu which is an important factor for such a low adoption rate of the improved technicalities of farming among the small farmers. Even if they want to adopt these advancements, they can’t afford them. These advancements are highly expensive and they hardly get any support from the government to buy them.

Majority of farmers in the state are not aware that mobile phones can be used to conduct agribusinesses and receive information. Illiteracy among farmers is also an important factor that pertains the usage of technology to get information. They do not even get the information about the awareness camps that are being organized near them. Non-availability of the internet services in many regions is also a reason why people are not aware of the latest techniques of farming as they are not able to get the information from external sources other than the government officials.

Generally, those farmers who are older, illiterate, less-likely to be full-time farmers, financially weak, less familiar with computers or internet and more likely to use their regular techniques of farming, are not able to accept these changes in farming. They accepts the fact that whatever technical advancement they have adopted, increased their crop production and are easy as well as convenient to use.

Knowledge of these improved techniques of farming is more prevalent in the villages of RS Pura, like Suchetgarh, Khurd/ Karotana Basti, Bidhipurjata. But the adoption rate of these advancements is equally low in all the farming regions of Jammu. Farmers are aware of the scarcity of water in Jammu because of which they have to invest a huge amount of money every year for their borewells and motor pumps. They are familiar with the sprinkle and drip irrigation systems but still they don’t want to accept these new techniques. They are far away from the reality that there is just one time investment to these systems and these systems will save water and their money as well.

According to Dr. Deepshikha, Agriculture Extension Officer, “People are slowly adopting these new techniques. They need some time to accept these changes in agriculture. But a lot needs to be done to spread awareness among the small farmers of Jammu as there is a large population of farmers who are far away from the knowledge of these techniques.”

Another Agriculture Extension Officer, Harpreet Singh, who is also a part of the ‘Paddy Project’ of organic farming, stated that “there is an increase in the number of awareness camps that are being organized for the farmers to make them familiar with the new technology. Government is taking various initiatives to make farmers accept these new techniques of Modern Agriculture practices.”

Throughout history, scientific and technological advances have greatly impacted the agriculture industry. To increase knowledge and awareness among farmers to enhance the production and productivity of various crops, the Government of India has initiated various programmes and introduced certain technical advancements of farming. As per PM’s plan, there are various farmer-specific Central and State-Government schemes, like Krishi Sichayi Yojna and Fasal Bima Yojna are aimed at increasing the productivity and double the farmer’s financial gain by 2022. According to the government records, a very high population of farmers are aware of these technical advancements but in reality, the picture is something else. So the records need to be rechecked.

When a farmer from Khurd was asked about the awareness camps, his reply gave the complete ground picture of the initiatives taken by the government. He said “these awareness camps are of no use. All these new techniques are highly expensive. We are already getting such low prices for our crops. If we buy such expensive machineries we’ll be in debt for sure.”

 

If the government wants the farmers to adopt these modern agriculture practices, then a lot of steps need to be taken in favor of these farmers. Financial support must be given to the small farmers so that they can afford these advancements or some scheme should be introduced through which farmers can at least hire these new and improved machinery. Government records should be rechecked and the government schemes, to help small farmers, should be implemented in reality rather than just putting records on paper. Also, the information given to the farmers through messages should be in their local language. Farmers can access their mobile phones easily if they get the information regarding the plantation they have grown in their own local language, i.e. Dogri.

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