Agriculture is the backbone of economy in the Budgam District, since more than 70% of the population in the District is deriving its livelihood from the agriculture sector. Agriculture being the primary sector of production is also responsible for the development of secondary and tertiary sectors. If we go through the history of developing states of the world, we see that it was the agriculture sectors of these states which were developed first and paved the way for the economic development of these states.

Since the population of the District is increasing day by day at an alarming rate creating more demand for food grain production and ultimately putting more and more pressure on Agriculture land and other natural resources resulting imbalance to the ecosystem. Simultaneously, the Agriculture land is decreasing day by day due to conversion.

The development of Agriculture on sustainable basis is the need of the hour; a type of Agriculture where we must meet our needs but without endangering the resource base for future generation. In order to bridge the gap between the technology developed and technology used in the farmers field, the Department of Agriculture is putting its best efforts by motivating the farmers to take-up Agricultures as a business entity by way of adopting diversification in Agriculture such as Mushroom cultivation, bee rearing (Apiculture), vegetable cultivation and commercial crops together with conserving of soil and water resource on long term basis. In order to provide employment opportunities to unemployed educated youth, the Department provides training on Mushroom cultivation and Apiculture through the qualified and experienced technical resource persons available in the District.

The activities taken-up by the Department in District Budgam for raising their economic status are as under:-

Mushroom cultivation:-
 Mushroom is an edible fungus having low calories, fat /cholesterol free. Mushroom contains a modest amount of fiber and over a dozen of minerals, vitamins.  Mushroom cultivation is an indoor activity and provides good employment opportunity for those who don’t have sufficient agriculture land. The department of Agriculture is maintaining a Demonstration-Cum training centre (DCTC) at Budgam to educate and train the farmers of District Budgam. The mushroom is a profitable entity and provides good employment opportunities to the farmers as well as unemployed youths with the aim to increase the Socio economic condition of the farmers in the District.

Bee Rearing /Apiculture
Like mushroom, the Department of agriculture is also putting their efforts in educating, training and motivating the farmers to take up the rearing of bees on large scale basis for raising their Socio-economic status. The rearing of bees is a technical Job and requires a skilled person to handle the bees. The rearing of bees is of utmost importance because they play an important role in pollination of most Agriculture crops leading to an increase 20-30% in the production besides providing additional income through production of honey, Bee wax, royal jelly etc. The department of Agriculture is putting its best efforts and striving hard for increasing the number of bee keepers in the District by providing all technical skill through its well experienced staff at D.C.T.C Gopalpora Budgam.

Vegetable Cultivation
It is worth to mention here that District Budgam is producing surplus vegetables of 48000 Mt. Tones, exporting to different District of J&k and other parts of the country after fulfilling our domestic consumption. Cultivation of Vegetables on scientific lines under controlled conditions is also in vogue with cropping intensity of 300 to 400% and the farmers are getting remunerative prices by selling Off-season vegetables. With the adoption of vegetable cultivation the farmers are raising their socio-economic status both with the cultivation of Organic Vegetables as well as Hybrid Vegetable’s under controlled condition with the motivation of technical field functionaries of the department.

Soil Testing Scheme:-
The Department of Agriculture Budgam is fully equipped with the Soil Testing Laboratory for analysis of Soil Samples and issuance of Soil Health Cards to the farmers, so that the recommended doses of fertilizers could be applied as per Soil Test Analysis. It is worth to mention here that 100% targets have been achieved in this sector during 2017-18.

Demonstration programmes:-
The department of Agriculture is laying out different demonstrations on various crops at different terrains of the District to popularize high yielding, area specific varieties and on scientific basis with the aim to increase production and productivity of crops at farmer’s field.

Multiplication of Improved Seed:-
The seed is the vital input; the department of Agriculture is raising improved & high yielding varieties of different crops in the farmer’s field under the technical guidance of technocrats of the Department. The quality seeds are procured from the farmers’ field under Seed Village Programme and accordingly, distributed among the farming community of the Kashmir valley with the aim to replace low yielding and disease prone varieties of different crops for betterment of farming community.

Soil Conservation Measures:-
 It is pertinent to mention here that the valuable land is under the threat of degradation and erosion. The natural land resources need to be conserved by using each hectare of land according to its capability and treating each hectare of land according to its needs. The magnitude of hazards with respect to soil erosion is of great extent particularly in the District Budgam. The Department of Agriculture proposes for the construction of protection bunds at vulnerable points, Soil and Water Conservation Measures such as diversion drains, gully plugging, contour bunding etc. Also the desilting of channels/ canals needs to take-up on large scale basis so that the irrigation water could reach the fields at tail ends with high degree of efficiency and restoring our natural water bodies’ springs, pounds etc. Due to constraint of funds, the department could not be justice in this sector.

Since the Department of Agriculture, Budgam is performing a large number of activities for the welfare of farming community only with the help of Centrally Sponsored Schemes, it is requested that the funds from District Development Agency may also be provided to this sector especially in Soil Conservation activities, Mushroom and Apiculture sectors to boost the economy of the farming community and provide the employment opportunity to the unemployed youth of the District Budgam.

Notable Achievements during the year 2017-18

  • Export of 48000 Mt-Tones surplus vegetable to different District of J & K and outside the state during 2017-18.
  • District Budgam ranked top in re-initialization of POS Machines of Chemical fertilizer in J&K before cut of date.
  • District Budgam ranked top in J&K State in organizing KISAN KALYAN KARYASHALA on 02/05/2018 under Gram Swaraj Abhiyaan GOI.
  • Assisting District Administration in awareness camps at village level about the benefits of Swach Bharat Mission during 2018-19 through our Agriculture Extension Assistants besides their assigned job.
  • Under centrally sponsored schemes 95 to 96% physical/financial achievements were made during 2017-18 with the expenditure of RS. 323.21 Lacs.