Srinagar: With the arrival of sowing season in the valley, farmers are seen planting rice saplings in paddy fields in Kashmir.
The major crop of the valley and boom of agriculture in Kashmir, paddy cultivation has immensely contributed to the economy of the state for centuries but the future of paddy cultivation is already in a state uncertainty.
Apart from converting paddy land – the main source of sustenance for the entire Kashmir valley into commercial purposes and residential colonies, hundred thousands of Kanals of paddy land has been converted into orchards’ and plant nurseries.
All these illegal activities are being carried out under a planned manner that officials at the helm of affairs who have failed to check this planned shrinking of paddy land.
It is found that that some land mafia have been converting paddy land first into non-paddy fields by planting plant nurseries, vegetable fields and orchards while giving up planting rice saplings in paddy fields in Kashmir. After few years the same practice of agriculture is being abandoned and construction is carried without any trouble.
The district-wise land coverage pattern of apple crop has increased and the cultivation of apple crop has witnessed increase in all the areas due to his higher potential to yield good results in terms of monetary gains.
Kashmir had 160000 hectares of paddy land in 2007, which has been reduced to 140000 hectares in 2014, which shows that the paddy fields have been shrunk up to 20, 000 Kanals during this period.
Agriculture experts believe that if the land conversion takes place with present pace, then the time would not be far when finding a paddy field becomes a history in Kashmir and tasting a Kashmiri produced rice would be no more.
The photos have been taken by Aasif Shafi who works with Kashmir Today.