J&K Farmers in distress

Jammu and Kashmir is known for it’s agrarian background and agriculture is the chief economic activity of people of Jammu and Kashmir. Agriculture is also known as the backbone of Jammu & Kashmir economy. It provides employment to around 64% population directly or indirectly.Net sown area in the state constitutes only 30% of reported area, 50% area is sown more than once in a year and 74% of the land holdings in Jammu & Kashmir are below one hectare size. There are only 225 farmers use more than 20 hectares of land for agriculture purposes and never forget that Agriculture holds paramount importance in the economy of Jammu and Kashmir. Geographical conditions for agriculture are not suitable everywhere in Jammu & Kashmir. The size of the net sown area in Jammu and Kashmir is diminishing and agricultural lands are used for non agricultural purposes at mega scale. In Jammu & Kashmir especially in the Valley of Kashmir there is huge pressure of growing population on the agricultural land.Net sown area came down from 62% in 1994-1995 to 37.62% in 2015-2016 as per official figures. But reality seems to be even graver. The valley of Kashmir which was once enjoying self sufficiency in foods has now turned out to be dependent on food imports and other agricultural produces. The Jammu & Kashmir as a whole is yet to become self reliant in agriculture sector as it depends heavily on imports. Jammu and Kashmir is viable for agricultural purposes but in Ladakh which was it’s part till October 31, 2019 the land is repulsive for agriculture activities as only few vegetables are grown there due to it’s topography. The main cause of diminishing land in the valley of Kashmir is population as the unprecedented rise in population over the period of year has intensified illegal construction activities on the irrigated land. Never forget that irrigated land is also used for construction of shops, malls and other commercial complexes. Jammu and Kashmir has a huge potential for agricultural purposes. Horticulture in Kashmir has the maximum yield per hectare.
The apples and walnuts of Kashmir are famous all over the world. In Kashmir there are many types of soils and these soils are actually used for various crops and plantation.Wisdom demands that crops should be changed year after year and also there’s need for hybrid crops for the purposes of high yields and also for improvising the quality of the crops and fruits. Soil testing should be done immediately for getting inputs about the quality of soil and the constituents present or absent in it so that viable crops or plants should are introduced keeping in view the quality of the soil. High quality equipments should be also provided to farmers on subsidy basis and training camps need to be organised by the agricultural universities and departments to give valuable information to the farmers like contour farming, crop rotation. Land laws should be introduced by the Government which would be beneficial to farmers but shouldn’t be against their interests .In Kashmir farmers are concerned about the issues concerning trading of apples and walnuts. Government should provide facilitation centres in every district from where these fruits can be transported to different so that farmers don’t suffer. Benefits of schemes like PM KISAN YOJNA were are yet to reach farmers in Jammu & Kashmir.
(The author is hailing from district Ganderbal presently DMLT from Kirmaniya Institute of I.T Ganderbal views are his own)

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