The splendid nature of God has conferred Kashmir with innumerable gifts, its towering snow clad mountains, bubbling streams, transparent and sparkling lakes, flower meadows, colorful orchards and rare fauna have always fascinated many tourists from all corners of the world. The age-old traditional fruit cultivation has plentifully colored the tranquillity and stillness of Kashmir’s landscape. Kashmir, the land of fauna, flora and fruits possesses a rich history of fruit cultivation.
The agriculture sector of Kashmir, especially its offshoot –“the horticulture industry” in Kashmir has become the bulwark of rural economy in the state. This industry earns revenue of over Rs. 50 crores yearly and provides job facilities to the thousands of people directly and indirectly. But due to coldhearted attitude of masses and government inefficiency we are fast losing our cultivable land to the greed of jungle of constructions .
Sometime back, we came to know that According to Jammu and Kashmir Statistics and Evaluation Department, the total available area in 1993-94 under ‘permanent pastures and grazing fields’ was 7107 hectares, which has reduced to just 5191 hectares in 2007-2008. The total land available for cultivation of rice in 1996-97 was 17337 hectares in Kupwara, which has been reduced to 15241 hectares. Similarly, the land available for cultivation of vegetables in 1996-97 was 5713 hectares, which has been reduced to just 499 hectares. The available land for cultivation of fodder in 1996-97 was 768 hectares, which has been reduced to just 51 hectares.
But of late as well many voices both in online and offline world are suggesting that whole focus of authorities is on promoting Kashmir tourism sector which has quiet low contribution to economy when compared to contributions of agriculture sector according to these very voices . So now the question and debate generated in society is that are we ignoring all important agriculture at the cost of tourism.