There have been substantial shifts in acreage in Budgam district towards agricultural activity with high level of crop intensification with the advent of green revolution technology. The significant increases in the productivity of rice and wheat crops were brought about by technological improvements/ interventions backed by effective price support and public stocking policies. These developments put the region's agriculture on high growth path resulting into fast increase in the area under rice and wheat crops not only by substituting other crops but also through horizontal and vertical expansion in the cultivated area.
There are wide concerns about the rising/depletion of ground water level, degradation in soil fertility, rising problems of insect-pest and disease complex, decline in bio-diversity, stagnation in yields, rising costs and diminishing economic returns, decline in factor productivity, declining and fragmented small holdings and narrow economic base of the farmers. These factors have put the economic and ecological sustainability of the existing farming systems of the district in jeopardy.
In view of these concerns, farmers of the district started (especially during mid eighties) strengthening the concept of crops and animal husbandry (being practiced by them since long). The enlargement was tried by incorporating poultry, fishery, piggery, vermiculture, beekeeping, vegetables and mushroom cultivation etc. Notable successes are instances of integration of vegetable and mushroom cultivation. Community fish farming has been successful due to govt. support. The majority of the farmers are experiencing low productivity and profitability of crops. Such experiences have not quantified in other enterprises but there are large numbers of failures due to lack of sufficient knowledge and skill in the farmers attempting to get into new ventures. There is also limited experience of exposure visits to fellow farmers who have successfully adopted the new enterprises along with crops.
Integrated farming system approach especially with multiple crop husbandry in integration with one or two allied enterprise with market potential is the sure way for optimum utilization of limited resources. It will generate sustainable income in tune with national goal ensuring food security and exploring markets (both within and out side the country).
Within the cropping system the factor productivity has been improved by improvement in the water, energy and labour efficiency. The emphasis would be to increase the margin of returns per unit of output. The components, like water productivity, energy efficiency and reduction in labour use have to be targeted along with the requirement of 4% productivity growth rate per year. There exists high potential for increasing the yield rates of these enterprises as the gap between present productivity and the attainable yield and potential yield is quite large in the district. The existing infrastructure facilities, easy access to big markets and up-coming processing facilities in and around the district are added advantage for the farmers of this district. In the light of prevailing agricultural scenario (with its roots in past and head in future) the following vision of the district was evolved through participatory methodology.
Improving the livelihood of rural household by rebalancing agriculture through conservation agriculture and a diversified farming system.