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Farmers in Ladakh Growing Crops at -20 Degrees Celsius Using These Technologies Mentioned by KVKs

Ladakh, the land of awe-inspiring landscapes and breathtaking beauty, is known for its challenging terrain and extreme weather conditions. In a candid conversation with Krishi Jagran's Parul Yadav, Dr. Shabbir Hussain, Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Kargil II, sheds light on the remarkable changes that have unfolded in Ladakh's farming sector.

Aysha Anam

Agriculture of Ladakh is a far-off reality that people like Dr. Shabbir Hussain, who is from Kargil-II KVK, have turned into a reality. The incomes of farmers are now double. They can grow basic food items like tomatoes and potatoes even during winter following the innovative technological ideas shared by scientists and other experts working in the KVKs of Ladakh.

Ladakh Farming Crops

While Apricot and golden bush are the main crops grown in Ladakh, farmers are now trying their hands at potatoes, cabbage, brinjal, cauliflower, tomatoes, capsicum, apples, peach, plum, and strawberries, among other crops.

Agriculture of Ladakh Growing

"Previously, people were dependent on government jobs for their livelihood, however, now, they are getting inclined towards agriculture because it has transformed and promises are better future," Dr. Shabbir Hussain, KVK, Kargil-II, said.

Rural youths are also attracted to agriculture, while the people from the city are still trying for government jobs.

"Basically, there is a shortage of government jobs in the region, which is propelling people to look for an alternative source of income, and agriculture is indeed one of the best sources of income in Ladakh," he pointed out.

Apart from agriculture, there is a huge scope in the tourism industry as well.

Main Crops of Ladakh in Terms of Profitability

Having said the main crop of Ladakh is apricot, people process them for a longer shelf life and earn tripple the profit. "Pure organic dried apricot in Ladakh is of Rs 700 per kg," Mr Hussain said.

Once there is a value addition to a crop, the amount is tripled, he added. Apricot is used for making jams, juices, dried pieces etc.

Exporting Crops from Ladakh

Again it is apricot which is being exported internationally. Recently, "Ladakh UT Administration have sent 35 metric tons of apricot to Dubai," he said. Farmers in Ladakh are also connecting with companies via Amazon and other shopping apps and earning huge profits in organic crops.

Role of Krishi Vigyan Kendras in Ladakh

The main objective of Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVKs) in Ladakh is to help the farmers learn more about agriculture, and train them - sowing - land patterning, exposure etc - in their own language of communication.

KVKs in Ladakh are working diligently with farmers towards technological advancements and discarding traditional methods. " Ladakh UT administration picks the best ideas and innovative methods after researching and implementing those in the region," he said.

In a tough terrain like Ladakh, soil fertility is very poor during winter, and it is not easy to cultivate vegetables, however, KVKs have introduced greenhouses in the region, making fresh vegetation possible.

"There are intricate conditions which need to be taken care of here, as in, there is a huge difference in two altitudes. For instance, an experiment might succeed in one altitude, but cannot be used in another," he said.

" Ladakh UT administration has a technology which overcomes crop infestation, grass hindrances, etc," he mentioned. 

Cash Crop in Ladakh

Peas is the cash crop in Ladakh. " Ladakh UT administration has revamped the entire process of cultivation of peas. Earlier, 10-15 kg seeds were used by farmers in one canal, now, only 2-4 kg are being used," he said. "Moreover, now peas farmers are earning double, earlier 18 households were making 10-15 lakhs per annum, now 30-32 lakhs per annum, making it to 1-2 lakh per household," he added.

"These KVKs are making cultivation possible in biting winters of -20 degrees Celsius with the implementation of new technologies. While climatic injuries like frostbite are common in the region during extremely cold weather days, the lack of water does not create any hindrance as Ladakh UT administration has created spaces to store water and conserve it," he said.

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