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Open Space

Kashmir's Green Revolution still illusive

Haroon Mirani

Vice president Muhammad Hamid Ansari Sunday called for a push to second green revolution in India from Indian administered Kashmir.

Hamid Ansari

Ironically Kashmir itself is yet to see the dividends of first green revolution of India, which completely bypassed the region.

Before the first green revolution in India, Kashmir was an importer of food grains and after the revolution, the import bills just kept on increasing.

The term "Green Revolution" was first used in 1968 by former United States Agency for International Development (USAID) director William Gaud to describe exponential increase in food grain production due to new technologies. The green revolution in agriculture helped food production to keep pace with worldwide population growth. It has had major social and ecological impacts.

By the late 1970s, the Green Revolution raised rice yields in India by 30 per cent and bought India the vital time to curb its population growth without suffering a recurrence of the devastating famines of the 1940s. India saw annual wheat production rise from 10 million tonnes to 17 million tonnes in the 1960s and to 73 million in 2006.

But when the time came for Indian administered Kashmir, all the bright results gained world over became pale here.

The average yield of rice during 1964-65 was 18.97 quintals per hectare (Q/Ha) and in 2005-06 the figure was marginally better at 21.52 Q/Ha. Total rice production was 4.3 lakh metric tonne in 1964-65 and in 2005-06 the figure stands at 5.5 lakh metric tonne.

Notwithstanding this minor no-good improvement in rice, almost all other major crops have faced reversal in production.

The average yield of maize was 15.11 Q/Ha during 1964-65 and ironically it stands at 14.13 Q/Ha in 2005-06. The total production of cereals and millets during 1964-65 was 4 lakh quintals and in 2005-06 it has fell to 2 lakh quintals in the state. For pulses the total production was 2.5 lakh quintals and the figure fell to 1.35 quintals in 2005-06.

It is a proven fact that Kashmir possesses one of the most fertile lands and still the food grain produce has been decreasing.

All this has happened despite having full fledged agricultural universities, colleges and other infrastructure.

Experts argue that there has been no Green Revolution till date in Kashmir.

"The State has always remained food deficit due to lethargic State machinery and uninterested centre," said an agricultural scientist, pleading anonymity. "Even now we have to procure 4 lakh metric tonne of rice and 2 lakh metric tonne of wheat to feed our population and our food deficit is growing with every passing day with serious repercussions."

A recent report by an international NGO had expressed grave concern over the food security of Kashmir.

To top it all there is not a trace of modernisation in the agriculture sector. Everywhere in the state we see farmer ploughing their fields with oxen, tilling with shovels, reaping the harvest with bare hands and doing all other associated work manually.

There is a strong component in the green revolution that machines and modern technology be incorporated in the agriculture. But in Kashmir this factor too is still absent.

Our agriculture is an example of living history. Nothing seems to have changed in this sector for the last so many centuries.

Regarding new breeds to enhance productivity, the situation has been most worse. Most of the seeds provided by so called high technology laboratories of Sher i kashmir University of Agricultural sciences have turned duds.

Even in the year 2007 the hybrid seeds for paddy provided by these scientists to the farmers of Kachmulla, Tral in district Pulwama proved to be a failure. There was no yield and the farmers are still ruing their fortunes.

If green revolution meant increase in the foodgrains, then ours must be called a black revolution, as here the production has decreased.

Now if Ansari still wants to give the push to green revolution from Kashmir, then only God can save the agriculture of India.


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Benazir Bhutto

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