Jammu & Kashmir losing its agricultural land

J&K is fast losing its agricultural land and hardly any steps have been taken by the state governments to put a check.

As per the government figures, Kashmir alone was losing an average 1,375 hectares of agricultural land annually.agricultural land to non-agricultural purposes

The data revealed by government had mentioned that the state had 8.47 lakh hectare agriculture land in 2005-06, which shrunk to 7.94 lakh hectare.

The share of agriculture in GDP has fallen by approximately one third.

Over 93% of holdings in the state belong to either marginal or small farmer category.

It is a point of concern that the combined contribution from primary and secondary sectors is becoming less than the lone contribution from service sector, which is a very unhealthy condition for sustaining growth in the long run.

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Despite the agriculture being backbone of state’s economy, successive government have failed to give required flip to this all important sector.

The decrease is mainly attributed to diversion of cultivable land for non-agricultural purposes, including construction, industries and other development activities.

This could be gauged from the draft of Agriculture Policy, which is yet to be implemented.

Besides, the undulating topography prevents mechanization of agriculture and, in turn, investment on implements and machinery.

The effects can be easily seen in the disparity ratio between average incomes of agriculturists and non-agriculturists, which has been increasing since long. This means that a major population (60 per cent people) of J&K is becoming poorer. It may not pose an immediate problem for the state food security but its long-term effect could be disastrous with the state needing more and more food to support its growing population.