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Withering Roots: The Struggle of Kashmir's Agricultural Sector

The primary risk to the agriculture sector emanates from climate change.
12:00 AM May 31, 2024 IST | Guest Contributor
withering roots  the struggle of kashmir s agricultural sector

Agriculture has long been the backbone of the Kashmir Valley's economy, with its lush green fields and bountiful harvests painting a picturesque landscape. The region's agrarian roots run deep, with a rich history of cultivating crops like saffron, apples, and rice that have earned Kashmir the moniker of "The Paradise on Earth." The verdant valleys of Kashmir have sustained generations of farmers. Agriculture not only provided livelihoods but also played a vital role in shaping the cultural identity and heritage of the region.



As of late we as a whole were in wonderment when a farmer from Pulwama began a drive to develop Mushk Budij (Aromatic Rice), yet is it enough for us to say that our agrarian sector is advancing, sadly a major NO. As idyllic as Kashmir's agricultural past may seem, the present-day scenario paints a starkly different picture. In the picturesque Kashmir Valley, where the green fields have long been a symbol of abundance and prosperity, a troubling trend is emerging.



The once-thriving agricultural sector, which has shaped the region's cultural identity and heritage, is now facing a crisis of unprecedented proportions and the credit goes to several factors that have contributed to the decline in agriculture, threatening the very foundation of this once-thriving sector.



The primary risk to the agriculture sector emanates from climate change. Climate change poses a significant threat to agriculture in the Kashmir Valley, impacting the livelihoods of farmers and the sustainability of their crops. Farmers are facing a gruelling battle against the effects of climate change, struggling to adapt to the changing conditions and ensuring the continuity of their agricultural activities.


The changing climate in Kashmir has brought about challenges such as receding glaciers, fluctuating temperatures, and water scarcity, all of which have direct implications on agricultural productivity. The canals and streams that once nourished the paddy fields are now causing havoc due to the altered hydrological patterns, posing a threat to the irrigation systems and overall crop health in the region.

The traditional farming practices in the region further exacerbate the problem, as the lack of modern irrigation techniques and water conservation methods hinder efficient water usage. Farmers in Kashmir, who have relied on centuries-old farming techniques, are now forced to confront the reality of a changing climate and its impact on their crops, livelihoods, and the agricultural sector as a whole.

However, glancing through the fields of the Kashmir Valley, one can't help but notice the stark absence of modern machinery and technology that could revolutionize our agricultural practices. While traditional methods have served us well for centuries, embracing innovation in farming techniques is a necessity if we are to ensure the sustainability and productivity of our land.

But, Despite the evident benefits of mechanization and technology in agriculture, the high cost of modern machinery, lack of access to training and resources, and the dearth of government support are just a few of the hurdles that hinder progress in this regard. Without the necessary infrastructure and support systems in place, farmers are left to navigate the complexities of modernizing their practices on their own adding insult to their injury.

The agriculture sector is looming under another crisis, that's the fragmented and declining agricultural land. it is so tragic that we are wasting our land by going on a construction spree rather than seeking to improve upon our agricultural production.

For us Kashmiris, it hardly matters whether our local crop production survives or not, we should have huge houses and wide roads even at the cost of agricultural land. This deviation stems from our collective oversight of sustainability. The consequences of our actions, driven by egoism and overexploitation, are evident.


The consequences of these challenges are far-reaching, impacting not just the economy but also food security, livelihoods, and the very fabric of our society. As I reflect on the declining agriculture in the Kashmir Valley, one of the most pressing concerns that weigh heavily on my mind is the issue of food security.

The diminishing crop yields and increasing reliance on imported food have created a precarious situation for the region. The once-bountiful land that sustained generations of farmers now struggles to provide an adequate supply of food for its inhabitants.

The looming spectre of food shortages and price hikes casts a shadow over the well-being of our communities. The fragility of our food security is not just a distant possibility but a stark reality that we must confront. As food production dwindles and farmers struggle to make ends meet, the overall economic landscape of the region is being reshaped.

The once-flourishing markets that were bustling with the trade of fresh produce are now seeing a decline in activity, impacting not just the farmers but also the wider business community that depended on the agricultural sector for their livelihoods. The economic interconnectedness of the valley is being put to the test, as the repercussions of the declining agriculture reverberate throughout the local economy.

In the face of these mounting challenges, the need for sustainable solutions to safeguard our agricultural legacy becomes increasingly urgent. Tending to these difficulties requires a diverse methodology, including executing maintainable rural works, advancing mindful land use, and putting resources into environment-strong farming.

The collective efforts of policymakers, farmers, and communities are crucial in devising strategies that address the root causes of food insecurity and pave the way for more resilient and sustainable agriculture. It is essential to recognize the interconnected nature of our agricultural and food systems.

The well-being of our communities, the stability of our economy, and the preservation of our cultural heritage are all intricately linked to the ability to feed ourselves sustainably. By acknowledging the challenges we face, and working collaboratively towards viable solutions, we can strive to build a more secure and prosperous future for all who call Kashmir Valley their home.


By Quyima Aslam, student of M.Sc Environmental Science from Cluster University. Contact at