(a) General Information:
Jammu & Kashmir is India’s northernmost state, lying between six mountain ranges and covering an area of 2,22,236 sq. kilometers. It is located between 32°17' and 36°58' North latitude, and between 37°26' and 80°30' East longitude. The state is commonly known as Kashmir, the territory is bounded on the north by Afghanistan and China, on the east by China, on the south by the state of Himachal Pradesh and the state of Punjab in India, and on the west by the North-West Frontier Province and the Punjab Province of Pakistan. Jammu & Kashmir has three distinct regions viz. Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir valley – offering a rich diversity in landscapes, religions and people. Kashmir valley is covered by forested mountains, lakes, waterways and terraced fields. The Jammu region comprises of plains, mountains and foothills. Ladakh accounts for nearly two third of the state’s area and is a high altitude deserted region. . The state has been divided into 2 divisions (Jammu and Kashmir) and 14 districts for administrative purposes. An area of 2,236 sq. km is covered by forests. The population of Jammu & Kashmir in 2001 was 10,143,700 comprising of 5,360,926 males and 4,782,774 females. It formed 0.99% of India’s population. Population density in the State was 45.31/km2.
(b) Agro and Sub Agro-Climatic Zones:
The State of Jammu & Kashmir falls under the high Altitude Temperate Sub-zone under the agro-climatic zone- I i.e. Western Himalayan Region This covers districts in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan and China occupied Kashmir. The districts are Jammu, Baramula, Anantnag, Pulwama, Srinagar, Badgara, Kathua, Kargil, Ladakh, Kupwara, Punch, Rajauri and Udhampur. Besides, the region also includes the Chilas, Gilgit, Wazarat, Mirpur and Tribal Territory districts which are occupied by Pakistan and China. This region is interspersed with a series of mountain ranges running parallel to each other, east to west. The Indus river system has carved out a number of valleys in which agriculture is practiced—Elevation increases from about 330 meters in Jammu to 3,505 meters in Ladakh and rainfall decreases from about 1,052 mm in Jammu to 92 mm in Leh.
The climate of Jammu and Kashmir varies greatly owing to its rugged topography. In the south around Jammu, the climate is typically monsoonal, though the region is sufficiently far west to average 40 to 50 mm of rain per month between January and March. In the hot season, Jammu city is very hot and can reach up to 40 °C (104 °F) whilst in July and August, very heavy though erratic rainfall occurs with monthly extremes of up to 650 millimetres. In September, rainfall declines, and by October conditions are hot but extremely dry, with minimal rainfall and temperatures of around 29 °C (84 °F). Because of its closeness to the Arabian Sea, Srinagar receives as much as 635 millimetres of rain from this source, with the wettest months being March to May with around 85 millimetres per month. Across from the main Himalaya Range, even the southwest cloudbands break up and the climate of Ladakh and Zanskar is extremely dry and cold. Annual precipitation is only around 100 mm per year and humidity is very low. This region, almost all above 3,000 meters above sea level and winters are extremely cold. In Zanskar, the average January temperature is –20 °C with extremes as low as –40 °C In summer in Ladakh and Zanskar, days are typically a warm 20 °C (68 °F) but with the low humidity and thin air nights can still be cold.
(d) Land Holdings:
The total geographical area of Himachal Pradesh is 22.224 million hectare and the area under forest 2.023 million hectare. The cultivable area is 1.02 million hectare and the net area sown is 819417 hectare. The gross cropped area is 1085377 hectare and the area sown more than once is 340000 lakh hectare with the cropping intensity of 146%. The net irrigated area is 355190 hectare (By canals- 60.8 %, By wells and tubewells- 0.66% and by others – 38.5%). The gross irrigated area is 453768 hectare and the percentage of net irrigated sown area is 43.3%. The total number of land holdings are 1442894 out of which 1174740 (81.4%) are marginal farmers, 178714 (12.4%) small farmers and 89440 (6.20%) farmers hold land above 2 hectare.
(e) Cropping Pattern:
Agriculture, the predominant sector of the economy of Jammu and Kashmir, supports about 80 per cent of its population. The state is divided into three agro-climatic zones: Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh each have its own specific geo-climatic condition, which determines the cropping pattern and productivity. Rice is the chief crop of Kashmir zone, followed by maize, barley and wheat. Jammu region dominates both in maize and wheat production. In the Ladakh region, barley is the major cereal crop followed by wheat. The production of three important food crops, namely, rice, maize and wheat, contributes a major portion of the food grain in the state and accounts for 84 percent of the total cropped area; the balance 16 per cent is shared by inferior cereals and pulses. Nearly 75 per cent of the country’s temperate fruits, mainly apples, are grown in the state.
(f) Scope of Farm Mechanization:
Jammu and Kashmir, being a hilly state, is blessed with naturally occurring micro agro-climatic regions suitable for cultivation of a wide range of agri-horticultural crops with a great potential for development. But the level of farm mechanization in the state is very poor with respect to mechanical power, efficient implements, water management, land reclamation, renewable energy and post-harvest technology sectors. The farm mechanization is badly hampered by stepped, small and irregular fields, undulating topography, lack of skilled man-power, poor facilities of repair, maintenance and manufacture of implements and high cost solar gadgets. Immediate attention of the state government and other funding agencies is required to strengthen the agricultural engineering wing in Jammu and Kashmir. A strong cell of agricultural engineering should be created to handle the farm mechanization problems. Despite various constraints, there is a great scope for increasing productivity of land and farmer's economy through creation of small water resources for irrigation, land development, use of efficient farm power and implements, rain water harvest, disseminating renewable energy gadgets and introducing small scale agro- based industries employing post harvest engineering principles