Focus on mushroom cultivation

The farmers have been a priority of GoI and continuous efforts are being put in to devise plans to improve the income of farmers throughout the country. UT of Jammu and Kashmir has its own set of problems, lack of irrigation facilities, being hilly area tube well irrigation is not feasible, then a whole stretch of barren Kandi area where cultivation is quite a tough job, totally dependent on rainwater. All these factors go against our farmers who despite having land yet not able to generate much. While neighbouring Punjab is the food bowl of the country we somehow are stuck to staid methods and few crop options. LG Administration roped in experts, a panel was formed, both SKUAST Universities and Departments of Agriculture, Horticulture, Floriculture and Sericulture were involved and 29 points program has been chalked out. The most important outcome is to focus on Self Help Groups and women, aim is to train them in unconventional crops like mushrooms, a high-value yield with minimum effort. Neighbouring Punjab and Himachal are already market leaders in mushroom cultivation. The government has earmarked forty-two crores over three years with assistance in the shape of training, compost, solar dryers, tinning units, spawn production labs and controlled conditioned cropping rooms, all under expert guidance. No extraordinary efforts are required, even housewives can generate substantial income. Medicinal and new varieties of mushrooms along with existing ones are all under focus and special funds are there for further research to develop new varieties under local conditions. Around eight hundred entrepreneurial units are expected to create many job opportunities and all these efforts will increase the income manifold. These kinds of sustained efforts were missing in the past. Innovative schemes, roping in experts, and zeal to deliver under the present administration are much appreciated. Administration has provided the funds and elaborative plans have been put in place, it is up to local departmental officials to make the public aware and deliver on the ground.

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