Sunday, December 4, 2022
Jammu and Kashmir


Land Reforms and Agriculture

Among the states of the Indian Union, the Jammu and Kashmir state had the unique distinction of having introduced land reforms of considerable magnitude. The salutary feature of the reforms introduced as a result of the enforcement of the Big Landed Estates Abolition Act 1950 was that as many as 9000 and some-odd landowners were expropriated from 1.82 lakh hectares of land and out of this, 0.94 lakh hectares of land were transferred in ownership rights to cultivating peasants free of any encumbrances. By far the most important step taken towards the implementation of this programme was the enactment of the Jammu and Kashmir Agrarian Reform which was amended in 1978. Under the measure absentee landlordism was completely abolished, and ceiling of 5.1 standard hectares fixed on agricultural land holdings excluding orchards in the state. The reform was bound to achieve the twin purpose of giving the cultivator his rightful place in the social order and also ensure more efficient utilisation of  the state's resources.


The main objectives of the government's strategy are:

  • Achieve self-sufficiency and self-reliance in terms of production of food grains

  • To improve and augment the income levels of the farming community

  • To ensure better income distribution and to reduce regional disparities.

The state is predominantly a mono-cropped and rainfed economy with about 40 percent of the area in Jammu division and 60 percent in Kashmir division having assured means of irrigation. Agriculture is one of the key factors and the mainstay of the state's economy. The productivity level of paddy at about 40 quintals per hectare in Kashmir valley is the highest in the country. Rice, maize, and wheat are the major crops.

 While in the Kashmir region wheat, oil seeds and fodder cultivation is being introduced as a second crop, in Jammu, farmers are raising paddy as an additional crop. Still another innovation is the introduction of mushrooms . Of the produce, 90 percent is canned and exported from the state, under the guidance and supervision of the agriculture department.

Mushroom demonstration-cum-training centres have been established at Srinagar, Baramulla and Anantang districts and at Ranbir Singh Pura in the Jammu division. The world bank has provided financial assistance to the state for developing mushroom cultivation on modern lines.

Agricultural production of the state has registered a steady growth. The state's foodgrain production is expected to increase to 22.59 lakh tonnes by the end of the Ninth plan as against 13.56 lakh tonnes at the end of the Eighth plan. A similar upward trend is discernible in regard to consumption of chemical fertilisers which has gone up from 43,400 metric tonnes to 72,400 metric tonnes during the same period. The average per hectare yield of rice has increased from 13.89 quintals in 1989-90 to 22.6 quintals in 1994-95. The  average yield of maize and wheat per hectare has increased from 15.65 quintals and 11.50 quintals in 1989-90 to 18.71 quintals and 14.29 quintals, respectively in 1993-94.

There has been a major thrust on the seed production programme to deal with the specialised requirements of the agro-climatic zones of the state. The area under oil seeds has increased from 70,000 hectares  in 1989-90 to 1.76 lakh hectares in 1994-95 and that of pulses from 40,000 hectares in 1989-90 to 81,000 hectares in 1994-95. Given the conducive climatic factors, saffron and zeera cultivation in the valley and doda has received a tremendous impetus. These crops have potentiality for earning foreign exchange for the country. The area under saffron has gone up from 4,000 hectares in 1989-90 to 4,383 hectares in 1993-94 with corresponding increase in production from 90.27 quintals to 130.65 quintals. The saffron production has been encouraged in the non-traditional areas.

The Sheri-i-Kashmir University Of Agricultural Sciences And Technology, established in the year 1982, has created its own niche in purveying a strong training and research input, for promotion of agriculture and horticulture in the state. After assiduous research carried over years, the university has been able to evolve new varieties of rice and oil seeds, suitable for temperate areas.

Under the Intensive Agriculture programme, a number of high-yielding varieties of seeds have been tried and introduced to boost up agricultural production. The state's agricultural experimentation has borne fruit  and two high-yielding varieties of rice, K-78 and K-84, suitable for high regions, were evolved. Paddy has been cultivated in higher reaches of the valley which experience early snowfall.

Increasing agricultural production through extension of  irrigation is part of the basic agricultural strategy. A number of irrigation projects such as the remodeling of the Ranbir Canal, the Pargwal Canal and the Udhampur Canal in the Jammu division, have been completed.

 The Ravi-Tawi irrigation complex symbolizes execution of the grand concept of using to the last drop of the available water resources of all major rivers flowing in the Jammu division and harnessing in the service of agriculture by creating irrigation facilities for the arid and backward belt of the division.

Underground water resources are also being explored and exploited in the areas of the Jammu division where gravity schemes are not feasible. A new irrigation scheme, namely 'Igophy' has been introduced in Ladakh district . Special projects like multiple cropping schemes have caught on .


Kashmir, known all over the world as 'Paradise on the earth', has the finest forests in the country. The abundant forest wealth of the state is  spread over 21,307 sq. km, which include 718.15 of sanctuaries and game reserves.  A rich variety of conifers such as fir pine, spruce, deodar, chir, kali, etc. grow in the forests. Special attention is being paid to the promotion of the forest research and preservation and making up the losses on the dwindling species.

The emphasis has been shifted from production to conservation and improvement of natural forests by bringing more areas under afforestation and under regular scientific management. During the Seventh plan, the amount of Rupees 3,882 lakhs was spent on the development of forests.

The Game Preservation Department has since been reoriented and the Central Wildlife Act was made applicable to the state with effect from January 1, 1979. The Act forbids illegal felling of trees and ensures the preservation of the ecological balance in the forests and the game sanctuaries like the one at Dachigan in Kashmir. 

Forests, which constitute 14.50% of the state's total geographical area, play a key role in maintaining the ecological balance. The government has taken several measures for rehabilitation of degraded forests and also enlisted public cooperation in it. The use of forest land for non-forestry purposes has been prohibited by the Forest Conservation Act in 1992.

The World Bank-aided Social Forestry Project launched in 1982-83 has helped in raising plantations on a massive scale.

A new concept of Joint Forest Management (JFM) has been introduced and village forest committees have been formed in 600 villages. These committees are useful in preservation of forest wealth to a large extent.

Nearly 7,000 hectares of state and forest land has also been covered under different soil conservation schemes during the first three years of the Eighth Five year plan .