This was disclosed during a meeting chaired by Minister for Agriculture, Ghulam Hassan Mir with the Scientists of SKUAST Jammu and officers of Agriculture Department Jammu.
The meeting was attended by the Director of Agriculture
Addressing the officers present, the Minister emphasized the need to improve the yields of traditional local cultivars of Rajmash, which although possessing a high quality, were grown and marketed under crop management practices that still required considerable improvement through interventions of quality inputs and the best scientific knowledge available from anywhere in the world. He remarked that Rajmash were the niche and valuable cash crop of the region and popular not only in the State, but even at the National level for taste, texture, aroma and palate.
Moreover, these were grown in the areas where little chemical fertilizers and insecticides-pesticides were used , he adeed. He called for developing the Rajmash areas as organic clusters thereby facilitating the farmer to earn added market value from the produce. He expressed satisfaction that such components had been incorporated in the project which would restore soil fertility and productivity at the individual farm level, create more employment opportunities and enhance farm level economy (i.e. farm profits) to restore confidence amongst the farmers in profitability of agriculture.
Speaking at the meeting, the Director Agriculture Jammu, Ajay Khajura, apprised that the Project was conceptualized to focus on sustainably boosting production, productivity, quality, post harvest management and marketing of this crop. He explained that the crop is grown in about 1000 hectares in Marmat, Ghat, Bhalessa, Bhagwah, Thathri, Bhaderwah, Gandoh blocks of Doda District, besides Marwah, Dachhan, Mandi, Bani and the other mainly dry temperate areas of Kishtwar, Poonch, Rajouri, Udhampur, Ramban, Kathua, and Reasi districts.
He revealed that the Department was now taking new initiatives to increase production of Rajmash substantially by improving productivity and expanding area under the high value cultivars/ varieties. Rajmash cultivars resistant to major biotic and a biotic stresses and suitable to different agro climatic zones shall be popularized under the Project and farmers shall be made fully aware about the improved agronomical and management practices. He said that as an important initiative in this regard the field functionaries of the department are conducting a bench mark survey of land races/ local germ plasm of Rajmash in respective districts. He said that it is envisaged to organize exposure visits of Rajmash Farmers and Officers to institutes of National significance and Farmer Field School Training on Rajmash.
A Divisional level training programme is also to be organized for the stake holders in Rajmash.
Regarding the activities of the SKUAST Jammu, Director Extension Education Dr. K.S.,Risam, stated that the concerned scientists of the respective Krishi Vigyan Kendras were collecting, preserving and documenting the samples in collaboration with the Divisional Seed Certification wing and Extension Officers of the Department and evaluation leading to recognition of district land races and production of breeder-feed will be taken to its logical conclusion by SKUAST-Jammu.