Admitting that agriculture land is shrinking in the state, Minister for Agriculture Ghulam Nabi Lone on Tuesday revealed that farmland in Jammu and Kashmir has shrunk by thousands of hectares in a decade.
Winding up the Discussion on Grants for Agriculture Department in the Legislative Assembly, the minister said, "Everybody is aware that the agriculture land is shrinking in the state and for that, only government is not responsible," he said adding that the people are equally responsible for conversion of agriculture land.
He said that the government is aware about the fact there is need of land for constructing hospitals, houses, etc. " But at the same time it will have an impact on the State's GSDP," he said adding that despite shrinking farmlands, due to tireless efforts of farmers crop production has witnessed considerable increase.
He also announced various measures initiated by the government to give fillip to the agriculture sector.
Earlier Legislators in the Lower House raised serious concerns over rampant conversion of agriculture land for non-farming activities including construction activities, stating that it would further push state towards dependence for food crops on outside states.
CPI- M, MLA, M Y Tarigami, said, "Farmers are shifting as there are less returns. Educated youth will not prefer to opt for this sector due to host of problems being faced by the peasants."
"If this practice of conversion of agriculture land is not stopped, the state's dependence on outside supplies would further increase," he said adding that agriculture sector should be given status of an industry.