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Business and Economy in Jammu and Kashmir


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Business and Economy in Jammu and Kashmir

Agriculture Business in Srinagar

There is a misconception that the economy of Jammu and Kashmir depends mainly on tourism. The fact is that it is not tourism, but agriculture and allied sectors, which is the main contributor towards the economic growth of the state. In spite of hilly terrain and cold climatic condition, this sector contributes 27% of the state’s gross income. Besides, many small manufacturing units have also opened up in the Jammu division. They mainly manufacture consumer goods. Handicrafts are also major contributor to the state’s economy. Last, but not the least is tourism; one cannot deny its role in the economic welfare of the state.

Agriculture and Allied Sectors in Jammu and Kashmir

As we have already pointed out, agriculture and its allied sectors are the main contributor the state’s economy. It is to be noted that 65% of the state’s population depends upon this sector for their livelihood.

Some Salient Features about Agriculture in Jammu and Kashmir

1. The total geographical area in Jammu and Kashmir is 2.22 lakh square kilometers while the net sown area is 7.52 lakh hectares.

2. The state has varied topography. The terrain in some parts is tough and accessibility to a large area is poor.

3. Because of the hilly terrain, mechanical farming is not feasible in a large part of the state. Soil in some parts of the state is very fragile and prone to landslides.

4. Only 42% of the cultivable land is under irrigation. A large part of the state is suitable only for single cropping system.

5. There is also a vast diversity in climatic condition. One can find cold arid, temperate, inter-mediate and sub-tropical zones within the state.

6. While such a variation of agro-climatic condition presents great scope diversification of crops, the hostile terrain is indeed a problem here.

7. Consequently, the agriculturists in the state have adopted certain region-specific and time-specific method to produce the basic food requirement of the state.

8. Barley, maize, millet, rice, wheat, pulses, potato are the main food crop grown here.

9. Among the cash crop grown are oil seed and fodder.

10. Basmati rice and rajmash/rajma grown in the Jammu Division also fetches good revenue.

Horticulture in Jammu and Kashmir

Apple Orchard in Kashmir

However, with the improvement of technology farmers have now gone into horticulture in a big way.  In fact, the region of Kashmir is world famous for its horticulture industry. Apples, apricots, cherries, pears, plums, almonds and walnuts grown in this region are exported not only to different parts of India, but also to many parts of the world.
Besides growing various types of fruit, the farmers in Jammu and Kashmir have also started growing different types of flowers, vegetables, mushrooms, aromatic and medicinal plants round the year. Saffron, grown in Jammu Kashmir, is highly prized for its color, flavor and aroma. Depending on agro-climatic suitability, off season vegetables and high quality seeds are also being grown in specific clusters.

Saffron in Jammu and Kashmir

Saffron Field in Jammu and Kashmir

In Jammu and Kashmir, saffron is mostly grown in the Karevas of Pampore and Kishtwar. Among them, Pampore and its neighboring areas annually produce 2128 Kg of saffron and the average earning from this crop is around Rupees 35 crores a year. This makes cultivation of saffron the second largest economical activity in the state; the first being production of fruits.

Researches in Saffron Production in Jammu and Kashmir

Keeping this in mind, the government has undertaken different research projects to look into the potential of saffron as an alternative source of income. It has now been found that apart from Parampore and Kishtwar, the soil in many other parts of Kashmir is also suitable for growing this crop. For instance, it has been established that apart from the above mentioned regions, saffron can successfully be cultivated -
  • In most parts of Budgam
  • In certain parts of Shrinagar and Anantnag district
  • In places where staple food crop cannot be grown
  • In every kind of terrain such as plains, undulated land, hill slopes
  • Both under shade and in direct sunlight
  • In apple and almond orchard as mixed crops
  • Under walnut trees, which generally do not allow any other plants to grow

It may be interesting to note that vegetative and flowering/fruiting phases of saffron and other fruit trees are highly asynchronous. Consequently these plants do not need to compete with each other for resources and therefore can be grown together.

Seosons of Production of Saffron

In general, saffron is sown from the beginning of August to mid September and the flowers are plucked in October and November. The plucking generally takes place early in the morning. The stigmas are then dried for five days. However if a solar drier is used, the process can be reduced to 7 or 8 hours. To preserve the quality, the dried saffron is stored in airy baskets.

Why Saffron is so Expensive

Getting saffron out of the flowers is a back breaking job. It is to be remembered that saffron is made not out of the whole flower but from its stigmas, which droop over the petals. To get the saffron one has to separate the stigmas from the flowers. The enormity of the task can only be appreciated if it is taken into account that it takes 160,000 to 170,000 flowers to produce one kilogram of the commercial saffron. Fortunately, saffron grown in Kashmir has three stigmas, which are 4.5 cm to 7 cm long and have thicker heads and so they produce greater yield.

Problems faced by Saffron Farmers in Jammu and Kashmir 

Saffron after being Harvested

Therefore, we see that apart from being used as spices, saffron has immense potential in the pharmaceutical industry. That is why the government is now encouraging saffron cultivation and had promised all kinds of aid. However, the farmers have to face certain problems and diseases are one among them. In general, diseases that attack saffron plants are Corn Rot, Dry Rot, Root Rot, Ring Rot, Bacteria Rot, Charcoal Rot, Mosaic etc. It is important that the farmers work in tandem with agriculturists to contain these diseases. There are experts at Sher-I Kashmir University of Agriculture Science and Technology, who can and do guide the farmers in this regard.

Marketing is another problem faced by saffron farmers in Jammu and Kashmir. To be able to sell at a proper rate, the produce needs to be graded and packed appropriately. For small farmers, this is not a very easy job.  Following are some areas in which government intervention is urgently required:
  • For procurement of good quality seeds by the farmers
  • In providing financial help to buy solar or air driers
  • In providing appropriate training for grading and packing of the produce
  • In encouraging farmers in others areas to cultivate saffron along with other crops

Apiculture in Jammu and Kashmir

Bees Culture in JK

Apiculture is also another big industry in Jammu and Kashmir. Apis mellifera bees were first introduced in this state on an experimental basis and soon yielded great result. Because of the state’s varied climatic zones, various types of flowers and fruits come into bloom in various seasons. Consequently, except for July and August bee rearing activities can go on throughout the year. The government is now encouraging the farmers as well as the unemployed youth in the state to take up apiculture in a big way. Bee colonies are now being set up in different areas under the guidance of the state government.

The best thing about apiculture is that it can go side by side with other agricultural activities. In fact, setting up of bee colony not only helps the farmers to earn a tidy sum, it also boosts the yield of other crops in the area. Sulah honey, kekar honey and saffron honey produced in Jammu and Kashmir is famous all over the world for their unique taste.

Sericulture in Jammu and Kashmir

Sericulture in Jammu and Kashmir

In Jammu and Kashmir, the art rearing silk worms is quite old. To promote the silk industry in the state Department of Sericulture was first created in 1889 by the then government of Jammu and Kashmir. It also set up proper infrastructure such as mulberry nurseries and silkworm seed stations. In addition several silk reeling and weaving factories were also established by the then rulers.  By 1940, around 52,000 families were engaged in sericulture in Jammu Kashmir.

Unfortunately, the number of families involved in this sector has dwindled since then. However, the government is now taking every step to revive this tradition. The Central Sericulture Research and Training Institute at Parampore has taken up different research projects in this regard. In spite of a number of restrains faced by the Institute, it has been able to offer proper research and development support to the farmers and set it up on the path to recovery.

Pisciculture in Jammu and Kashmir

High Altitude Lakes in Jammu Kashmir

Fishing has also been an age-old occupation in Jammu and Kashmir. The state is blessed with a number of rivers and lakes. Trout has been introduced in these water bodies during the British period and they have been thriving since then. Lately the government has taken several steps to strengthen this sector.
Did You Know?? In 2014, the government registered as many as 4,621 fishermen in the state. It will enable them to avail various incentives such as accident insurance coverage to the tune of Rs. 50,000. In addition, the registered fishermen are now eligible for a home loan up to another Rs. 50,000.

Later in 2014, few more steps were taken.  For example, that year pisiculture was brought under the purview of centrally sponsored ‘Rashtriya Kissan Vikas Yojna’ so that central funding for promotion of trout fishing can be availed by the farmers. According to press release in August 2014, the government also announced that it intends to increase the production of fish and create the required infrastructure so that fishermen can sell their catch at the right price.  There is also a plan to invite private entrepreneurship in this sector. In short, the role of fishing in the economy of Jammu and Kashmir is going to get a boost very soon. 

Industry in Jammu and Kashmir

Industries in Jammu and Kashmir

Industries in Jammu and Kashmir mainly consist of small scale and cottage industries. Lately a few medium scale industries such as the cement factories in Khrew region of Phulwama District have been established. While the hilly terrain is the main obstacle behind lack of industries in Jammu and Kashmir lack of infrastructure is another.

Textile Industry in Jammu and Kashmir

Fortunately, the government has taken up a few steps to rectify the later. Roads are now being built or easy transportation of the produce. Indian Railways has also undertaken an ambitious project to connect different parts of the state with the rest of the country. Once all these are completed, movement of goods will be far easier, which in turn will boost the economy of the state.

Industrial Estates in Jammu Kashmir

1. Industrial Complex at Khonmoh in Srinagar
2. Electronic Complex at Rangreth in Srinagar
3. Industrial Estate at Zainakote in Srinagar
4. Industrial Estate at Zakura in Srinagar
5. Industrial Complex Lassipora at Pulwama in Kashmir
6. Industrial Area in Kathua
7. Integrated Infrastructure Development Project in Udhampur
8. Industrial Complex in Bari
9. Brahmana Industrial Estate in Zakura
10. Industrial Growth Centre at Ompora in Budgam
11. Industrial Complex at Bari Brahmana in Jammu 12. Industrial Estate at Gangyal in Jammu
13. Industrial Growth Centre at Samba in Jammu 14. Export Promotion Industrial Park at Kartholi in Jammu

Industrial Growth Centers in JK

Lately, some areas in the state have been earmarked for development of industries. Big corporate houses have been invited to set up industries at the above mentioned places. At the same time, the government realizes that the small scale industries can have equal impact on the economy of the state if they are helped by proper infrastructure and are provided with incentives. That is why the state is providing a number of incentives to different industries in the state and that includes bank loans, excise exemption etc.

Small Scale Industries in Jammu and Kashmir

The main types of small-scale industries that have been set up in Jammu and Kashmir are food products, beverages, drugs, chemicals, plastic goods, automobile equipments, machinery parts, gems and jewelry, paper products and handicrafts. Cricket bats made in Kashmir are famous all over the world.

The Kashmir Willows

The cricket bats made in Kashmir is known as Kashmir Willows. These bats are traditionally made from wood of white willow tree. They are heavier than English willow and can generate greater speed. To make these bats, the bat makers use a combination of traditional tools and modern technology. Charsoo, Hallmullaha, Bijbehara, Sangam, Sethar, Pujteng and Mirzapor are some of the villages which constitute the hub of this industry.

Handicrafts in Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir has always been famous for art and craft. Today these handicrafts have immense commercial value and contribute significantly to the economy of the state. Tourism is another sector, which also has immense economic significance for the financial stability of Jammu and Kashmir. 

Exports of Goods from Jammu and Kashmir

Kashmiri Jewelry

Jammu and Kashmir exports many agricultural as well as manufactured items.  Among them, saffron produced in the state is famous all over the world for its unique aroma and color. Honey made in Kashmir region is also appreciated by many outside the state. The state also exports a large amount of agricultural produce such as apples, cherries, oranges, peaches, pears, rice, wheat, barley, corn, millet, sorghum, vegetables etc. Manufactured exports from the state include handicrafts, jewelry, rugs, shawls, cricket bats etc.

Minerals in Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir has limited resources in mineral and fossil fuel. A small reserve of natural gas has been found in the vicinity of Jammu city. In addition, there is a sizable despite of sapphire, coal, limestone, marble, bauxite, gypsum, magnesite and lignite in the state. 

Sapphire in Doda

Saphire from Doda

Among them sapphire occurs mainly in the Paddar area of Doda District. The gemstones found here are deep bluish in color resembling the color in the peacock’s neck. These stones are valued for their clarity and transparency. 

Coal in Jammu and Kashmir

In Jammu and Kashmir, coal is mainly found in Udhampur and Rajourie districts. The coalfields extend from Jalangali in the east to Jigni in the west. The coal mined here is semi anthracitic in grade and has high heat value. It has 20% to 30% ash, 10% to 13% volatile matter, around 1.25% moisture and 6000 to 7800 K Calorie per Kg.

Other Minerals found in Jammu and Kashmir

In Jammu and Kashmir, gypsum is mainly found in Buniyar and Baramulluha, Ramban and Doda Districts. In addition, a small pocket of gypsum and bauxite deposits have also been found near the Udhampur city. Right now the state owned J&K Minerals LTD is actively mining gypsum from Assar mines in Doda District. The mineral so mined has a 80% to 90% clarity and has an immense commercial value.

Gypsum in Jammu and Kashmir

Magnesite is mainly found in Chipprian mine near Panthal village in Doda District. The mineral so mined is of high grade and suitable for obtaining dead burnt magnesite.

Jammu and Kashmir has a large deposit of cement grade and chemical grade limestone. These deposits are mainly located in Anantnag, Pulwama and Baramullah districts. At present J&K Minerals LTD is mining limestone in the Khrew are in Pulwama district for captive use at its cement plant in Wuyan. Very soon, the company may mine these minerals on larger scale.

Five millions of tons of lignite have recently been found in Nichohama region in Kupwara district. The lignite mined from here will mainly be used in thermal power plant to be set up here. The Kupwara district also has considerable deposit of marbles. Marbles found here are of different hues and colors. Besides that, bauxite, zinc and copper are few other minerals found in different parts of Jammu and Kashmir. However, such natural resources have not been fully exploited as yet. Once that is done, the economy of the state is sure to take further leap.

Also Read: Business and Economy in Jammu | Business and Economy in Leh | Business and Economy in Anantnag
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