J&K is losing its “food independence” at an alarming rate, all thanks to ill management of land and willful conversion of farm lands to other purposes. It means that we are no longer producing enough food to feed our people. Here is some data according to the economic survey 2017:
-Jammu and Kashmir imported, the highest ever, 1 lakh metric tonne food grains from outside in the year 2016-17.
-The report reveals that in 2002-03, J&K imported 503 thousand metric tonnes of food grains, which rose to 952.55 thousand metric tonnes in 2016-17
-Jammu and Kashmir has lost an estimated 10 lakh kanal agricultural land to non-agricultural purposes in the past 10 years primarily because of the failure of the state government to curb the practice.
-According to Greater Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir had 8.47 lakh hectare agriculture land in 2005-06 which has shrunken to 7.94 lakh hectare till 2015-16. This means, the loss in a decade is estimated 53,000 hectare farmland (equivalent to 10, 60,000 kanal) which has been converted for non-agricultural activities across the state.
-In 1950-51, the food deficit was just 32 percent, which later fell to 23 percent in 1980-81 as a result of advancement in agriculture.
-“During the year 2015-16 the import of foodgrains was recorded at 755.85 thousand metric tonnes, which was 0.12% less than the imports of 2014-15. However, the import of foodgrains during the year 2016-17 was recorded at 952.55 thousand metric tonnes, which was 26.02% more than previous year.
-According to the official record, the area under paddy cultivation was 158,000 hectare in 2012, shrinking to 141,000 hectare in 2015-16.
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-It also reveals that the arable land in the state has shrunk from 0.14 hectare per-person in 1981 to 0.08 hectare per-person in 2001 and further to 0.06 hectare per-person in 2012.
–Census 2011 reveals that J&K has 5.66 lakh cultivators for whom farming is their main occupation and this number has scaled down from 9.49 lakh in 2001.
-The loss of agricultural land to urbanization has raised alarm bells but solutions have been elusive. In 2011, the government set up a committee under the chairmanship of then Horticulture Minister to review a bill that would address specifically the issue of use of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes. But the proposed legislation wasn’t finalized allegedly due to political pressure and continues to hang fire since.
-In April 2012, the J&K High Court passed directions against the misuse of agricultural land on a related Public Interest Litigation filed by a non-governmental organization. It directed all deputy commissioners to ensure the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Agrarian Act and the Jammu and Kashmir Land Revenue Act are implemented to stop the conversion of agricultural land.
( With inputs from online reports)