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Why is it Important to Retain Haryana's Agrarian Roots?

Why is it Important to Retain Haryana's Agrarian Roots?, naya haryana, नया हरियाणा

21st August 2014

Naya Haryana

Haryana has always been an agrarian economy through time and is blessed with fertile land and gets its fair share of rainfall every year. These fundamentals along with sheer grit and determination of farmers of the state ensured that the Green Revolution launched in the late 60s, became a success.

Haryana, today, has emerged as a major contributor to agriculture, horticulture and dairy farming and most of the state still earns from these activities. However, in the last thirty five years there has been a progressive shift towards urban development, at the cost of agricultural land. Unfortunately, the last eight years has seen an accelerated shift towards urbanisation and this is a very disturbing trend.

One recognises that there is a need to develop industries and by extension, there will be a need for housing development along with all the necessary supporting infrastructure. However, when this is done at the cost of fertile agriculture land, keeping only profit in mind, then it can have disastrous consequences in the long term.

Unfortunately, the present government in the state has been working overtime at the behest of the builder lobby and has been rapidly pushing for conversion of maximum agriculture land to commercial use. At present, there seems to be little long term vision and more emphasis on short term priority.

On the contrary, Naya Haryana vision stands for a balanced growth of the state, where we optimize our strengths and prepare for overall development of all sectors of the economy, keeping in mind the long term needs and priorities of all sections of society in future.

Let me explain our vision. Haryana is a state in close proximity to Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan. With Delhi racing ahead with urban development, there will always be pressure on Haryana, to offer more areas for the same. However, rapid growth of NCR will continue to attract large number of migrant population, from all income groups, from other states and who will choose to live and work in these areas. This will result in a surge in demand for all kinds of basic and processed agricultural produce, along with high value horticulture and dairy products. And Haryana must be well poised to meet that demand.

Haryana of the future will be able to realise far higher prices for its agro products than is possible today. The spread of money will be across a wider section of people associated with farming and related industries. The potential for revenue generation and distribution of income from agriculture will far exceed the number of people who will benefit from say urban apartments, per acre, where the profits will be earned mainly by the developer and for one time only.

On the other hand, the income from high value basic and processed agriculture will keep increasing year after year, for all time, thereby assuring handsome returns to all those involved. As time passes and agriculture land becomes a premium, the value of the produce can only keep climbing. Therefore, it's important for us to have a long term vision and plan keeping the long term requirements in mind.

The debate on what is the best mix between agriculture and urban development of land, is raging across the world. It needs to be understood, that residential living is moving vertical and as technology improves the move towards higher vertical movement is inevitable. With improvement in technology, the agriculture too will move to vertical farming, however, these will always be limited due to high cost of real estate that will continue to remain prohibitive to large scale farming.

On the other hand, there has been significant improvement in high yielding and disease resistant seeds that improve per capita output significantly. This along with tremendous strides being made in pesticide, weed management and irrigation techniques, ensures that Haryana is well placed to enhance the output, in the years to come.

This along with increasing demands for processed food, organic food and restaurant food, will all mean that all individuals and industries associated with agriculture will be set to profit significantly, in times to come. While commercial, residential and even industrial activity can go vertical, agriculture will always remain on land and therefore, the need to hold on to agriculture land to the maximum that's possible.

Therefore, it is essential to keep the needs of the next 50-75 years in mind and plan accordingly. Unfortunately, the current administration seems unable to think and plan beyond their limited tenure period.

We have spent a lot of time to understand the future and it's a work in progress but we are convinced that Haryana's strength lies in its agriculture and this needs to be nurtured and developed further. We will need to find innovative ways to meet the demands for industrial, commercial and residential development, making the best use of the latest in emerging trends and technologies in construction, without compromising agriculture land.

Haryana must never give up its agrarian roots.


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