trend (1960 to 2002) of subsistence farming in Palas valley
with special reference to reintroduction of wheat cultivation”
Around 1960s the valley of Palas was self sufficient in traditional
verities food staple. The farmers of the area were growing
paddy, maize and wheat crops of indigenous varieties. Although
the yield potential was low, still the production was sufficient
for their subsistent food requirements. They were growing
black wheat (Buck wheat) and short stature maize and paddy.
The taste quality of these crops was very low and was hardly
suitable for consumption.
In 1974, when there was an earthquake, Pattan received attention
for relief works. Developmental intervention started to provide
relief to the local community. In these interventions the
supply of food was priority. Thus the community could get
good quality food free of cost and the interest of local community
for the cultivation of paddy and wheat started declining.
Wheat Plot at Gulibagh Kuz Palas
Between 1976 to 1987 the KKH was completed. After this period
the mobility of the people increased, means of transportation
enhanced and the communication structure of the area was altogether
changed and improved. Grain stores were established, ration
quota system was enforced and ration cards were issued. Thus
supply of food items was enhanced and the community could get
their food requirements on subsidized rates very easily from
the market. All these contributed to discontinuation of wheat
growing in Palas. The Palasis, started avoiding the cultivation
of wheat and paddy. This trend brought a great setback in the
long run when the Government agencies withdraw their subsidized
ration system. At that time the Palasi were doing the cultivation
of only maize and the area became altogether mono crop area.
Since last three decades the Palasi were sowing only maize crop,
which were only sufficient for their 6 months subsistence, while
for the rest of the period they could sell their animals or
doing labour in the down districts to meet their food requirements.
It was during 2002 that PCDP initiated the reintroduction of
wheat in the area by establishing 10 demonstration plots, which
created good impact amongst the local community and they started
sowing of wheat crop. Now 200 acres land is covered with wheat
crop and Palas valley which might help in meeting the consumptive
deficit of staple grains.