Thu. Dec 5th, 2019

Agriculture Challenges in Kashmir

Dr Bilal A Dar

State’s agriculture is declining to a greater extent. Due to less or no investment, no resource availability and hence, no inputs, yield of about all crops is going to decrease to the greater extent. No reliability on water resources is also a major cause of the bad condition of agriculture. Unequal distribution of water and land also causes hindrance in the growth of agriculture in all the regions of Kashmir. Due to fixation of only four crops and same policy for all the crops is also leading agriculture towards destruction badly. Actually, Government policies are same for agriculture sector from several decades. No new policies are formed from many years. First of all marketing is the major problem for the farmer while the government is constructing good quality roads only but there is no attention of the government towards the major marketing problem. The price of all the inputs reaches the heights of the sky but there is no proper selling price at the end of the season of the crop and farmer suffers a great loss after suffering the major problem of transfer of commodities from one place to another. Secondly, there is no research plan in the process of policy development in State and hence, the economic plan also diminishes.
Farmer requires quality seed, water, fertilizer, farm machinery, research and extension for maximum output or money generation because this is the only way to earn and the maximum production for the farmers in Kashmir. This statement is well known by our Government but the same recommendation for same issues given by our government leads towards little success. There is no improved and certified seed for the small farmer in state without soil testing, fertilizers applied by the farmer and no awareness about the recommended dose of each fertilizer and chemicals are also a gap in policies related to agriculture. Fertilizers not available on time enforce the farmer to apply extra dose while prices are more and the farmer is unable to afford. There is also unbalance in nutrient mix fertilizers and this is a major issue due to policy gap. Due to present situation/condition of agriculture, no awareness to the farmer and no policies from several years, agriculture in future will face a lot of problems including water crises, and high costs of all inputs related to agriculture. Due to lack of the common platform for the farmers, there will be no content development in agriculture; no partnership will be among the public and private sectors and hence, no institutional capacity will lead towards fewer support facilities. Present policies or we can say “old policies” from years and backward agricultural systems will make the gap larger in research, extension, and science as well.
Conclusion: State’s bad condition can be changed into better and improved even into well-developed Kashmir. But we need a little effort and attention of the government to get awareness about our farming system so that we may play an important role in the economics. As our state, depends mostly on agriculture. More than 25% of GDP is coming from agriculture. If our government take decisions to make new policies or amendments in present policies, agriculture in state will make its economy better to high level to make the state as the best in agriculture sector after few decades in the future.

(The author has done post doctoral degree from School of Business and Management National University Jaipur. Views are his own darbilalsultan@gmail.com)

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