Srinagar Oct 20 (KINS): Farmers in Jammu and Kashmir have been switching from traditional paddy farming as the Union Territory has witnessed over 400 percent increase in the area under horticulture since 1975.
Figures of Agriculture Department Kashmir available with news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS) say that from 1,62,309 hectares in 2012-2013, the area under paddy cultivation decreased to 1,34,067 hectares in 2021-2022.
According to figures of Department of Horticulture Jammu and Kashmir, the area under horticulture cultivation was 82,486 hectares in 1975 which went up to 3,30,956 hectares in 2021, indicating around 400 percent increase in the area under horticulture for the last 47-years.
Horticulture is the mainstay of Kashmir’s economy with seven lakh families according to figures of Horticulture Department Kashmir are directly or indirectly associated with the sector.
Horticulture contributes over eight percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Jammu and Kashmir.
The conversion from agriculture to horticulture has one simple reason as fruits bring more money to farmers than rice.
A senior official said horticulture gives far better returns to farmers than agriculture.
“There are many government sponsored schemes under which farmers can avail benefits to grow fruits on their land and increase the production,” he added.
Ghulam Rasool, a 50-year-old farmer from Anantnag would grow paddy on 10-kanals of land earning Rs 20,000 annually.
“However, for the last many years, we have been cultivating apples on this same land which fetch us Rs three lakh annually. We have a family of six-people and all are dependent on it. Farmers are switching from paddy to horticulture as it gives good returns,” he added.
Mohamad Abbas Wani, 50, and his family have been associated with fruit production for 30 years.
“We grow fruits on 30 kanals of land. We have a family of 20 people and all are dependent on earnings of apple produce. Besides, 20 people are also working with us during the cultivation season. We make a good earning out of it and fetch us Rs 4 lakh profit annually,” he added. (KINS)