Involve youth in agriculture sector
With the growing population and increased number of visitors arriving in the valley, the demand for fresh vegetables and fruits is witnessing an upward trend.
Though this is a positive development but the demand and supply principle is making things uncomfortable as the Kashmir valley is mainly dependent on its supplies from various parts of India.
Though during the summers the situation is not that bad but as son as winter season approaches, the situation becomes all the more difficult with prices of vegetables going out of the reach of a common man.
Interestingly, for our daily needs like fruits and vegetables and other eatables we have left ourselves on the mercy of outside states as the imports to Valley cross more than three lakh metric ton of vegetables alone every year.
Besides, all other daily use items and other necessities too are being fetched on daily basis and this means that most of the cash reserves are being spend on these purchases.
The past few years, especially the last decade has put up a harsh fact that we are increasing our dependency for essential commodities on outside supplies. This includes vegetables and fruits besides mutton, poultry and other products.
Going by the pace of imports and increased demand of supplies every year experts believe that in the coming few years the demand of vegetables in Kashmir would get doubled than what was the requirement some two decades back.
Despite the mammoth import of vegetables to Kashmir still the per capita availability of vegetables is less than the prescribed requirement of 200 grams per person per day. This means that if the health consciousness among the people in the valley rises the imports will witness a quantum jump and thereby increasing our dependence more.
Experts fear that the increasing dependency of Kashmir for vegetables on outside supplies is putting an extra pressure on the region’s economy. They attributed the rising imports of vegetables to conversion of farmland for nonfarm purposes, increasing value of real estate assets and lack of facilities for farmers.
Besides, the planning department and those connected with Agricultural activities are not laying enough thrust on increasing the local produce here.
The farming sector is still practicing the age old techniques and very few modern farming practices are being put into vogue in the Kashmir valley. In addition no fresh farm land is being converted into multiple farming activity zones and least avenues for increasing the irrigational facilities to Karewas are being planned.
This is evident from the fact that the agriculture share to the state gross domestic product has declined by over 13 per cent over the years. The agricultural yield over the years has shown a decline as compared to other neighbouring states. These states though being dependent on water from this region have been showing an upward trend in its agricultural output but we being a water resourceful region are not able to harness the potential on professional lines.
Agricultural activity over the years has become relatively less remunerative due mainly to unfavourable price regime and low value addition, this being the reason that no one even among the educated and unemployed youth is willing to take up this activity for commercial gains.
However, some new farming practices which include vertical farming, hydrophonics, aerophonics and other new and innovative techniques need to ne introduced here so that the productivity increases and so does the interest among the youth so that they can see a bright future for themselves within the agriculture sector alone.