JK rapidly losing agriculture sector Contribution in GDP dips from 28 to 16 percent in a decade

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Ishtyaq Ahmad

Srinagar, Apr 8: The contribution of agriculture in state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has dipped from 28 to 16 per cent in a decade due to large-scale land conversion with government failing to implement the agriculture policy in the state.
The successive governments have failed to implement the effective agriculture policy in the state that will lay down long term road map for improvisation of agriculture sector.
According to official documents, the share of the industries has remained constant at 43.71 per cent during the last one decade.
“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,” the documents said.
“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,” the documents reveal.
They point out that the illiteracy, coupled with insufficient government support, as the main reason behind the decline in this sector.
“The agricultural sector has shown a lower performance due to a number of factors such as illiteracy, insufficient finance, insufficient irrigation facilities, power availability, inadequate marketing facilities and underpricing of agricultural products,” they said.
The draft said that the average size of the farm land here have declined gradually with the shrinking of the cultivated areas.
“The average size of the farms is very small and approximately 90% of land holdings are of the size of 2-4 Kanals, which in turn results in low productivity. The sector has not adopted modern technology and agricultural practices to a larger extent. Also decline in plan allocations investment and investment credit are contributing factors.”
As per the India Spend analysis of government figures, the Kashmir alone was losing an average 1,375 hectares of agricultural land annually.
Several states have implemented the agriculture policy to increase production and productivity of the crops and to enable farmers to diversify their crop production so as to take advantage of market opportunities.
Officials sources said that a draft of Agriculture Policy was framed but authorities were not bothered to ensure its implementation resulting there has been decline in agriculture production.
“The Agriculture Policy has been confined to papers only without being implemented on the ground. Although majority of population are directly or indirectly dependent on the sector but government has been least interested in implementing the Agriculture Policy,” the official said.
The policy was framed to actualize the vast untapped growth potential of the agriculture, promote value addition, accelerate the growth of agri-business, and create employment in rural areas. (KNS)