Lack of opportunities and progress in agriculture has left millions of cultivators in difficult financial problems throughout the world. There has been an increasing tendency to move towards industrial and service sectors in all nations leaving agriculture in tight spot. Agriculture is fraught with indebtedness, lack of financial services and low skills. There are increasing numbers of farmer suicides in India. There are nearly 15 million farmers in India, fewer than there were in 1991, over 7.7 million less since 2001. On average, that’s about 2,035 farmers losing ‘Main Cultivator’ status every single day for the last 20 years. Suicides have become a norm now in Indian agriculture. The total number of suicides committed by farmers for agrarian reasons in last three years stands at more than three thousand.
Conflict has been another important factor that has caused migration from rural areas on large scale. Rural areas are mostly highly interconnected with agriculture. The high mortality in these areas reduces the available supply for agriculture labour and reduces investment in these risky areas. Conflict is an important factor to reduce soil fertility and its improvement. It increases the ‘cultivable waste’ in the region that in turn reduces food supply for the world as well as the region. More than 70 per cent of land becomes cultivable waste in the conflict prone areas.
In Jammu and Kashmir, agriculture is the backbone of our economy. More than 70 per cent of our population is dependent on agriculture although it provides only 22 per cent of GDP to our state economy. Horticulture and live stocks provide maximum contribution to agriculture of the state. However over the years, environment has become an issue here. There have been cloudbursts, incessant rains and decrease in water levels in all canals throughout Jammu and Kashmir. Also our state receives less rainfall, low snow and prolonged dry seasons.
Last year floods had brought havoc to our state. Dwindling average land holdings and less productivity will ruin our state. Rural population has also witnessed huge increase. The rise of middle class and breaking up of traditional joint society has bloomed the construction in rural sector. The state had 2, 68,552 houses in 2001. The number has gone up to 36,03,632 by 2011 registering an increase of 8,35,080 houses during the period. Interestingly, the rural areas have shown an increase of 31.10 per cent in houses during last 10 years, while the urban areas recorded an increase of 27.57 per cent. With limited land available, the construction has expanded to agricultural land. It has caused food insecurity in the state. Our state now imports huge food items to feed its growing population.
It has become imperative for our state to adopt modern technology to avert the crisis. Smart policy and smart agriculture is the mantra to avoid crisis in the state. Lab to land contact has to become frequent in the region. There is need to adopt drought resistant crops and plants. Farmers have to provide the necessary inputs for combating the diseases arising from environmental problems. Water management has become crucial these days. Sprinkle irrigation has to be adopted to avoid water crisis in the state.