India: Delhi and urban farming: The city needs its farmlands and its farmers need help

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A farmer carries sugarcane to load on a tractor to sell it at a nearby sugar mill in Modinagar in Ghaziabad, some 45km east of New Delhi. (AFP file photo )

According to the Economic Survey of Delhi released last week, the city was losing its cropped area at 2.28% annually.

By Shivani Singh
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
Mar 26, 2018

Excerpt:

For a city that was for long scorned as an overgrown village, it is surprising how fast Delhi is losing its rural character.

Between 2001 and 2011, Delhi’s rural population has more than halved from 9.45 lakh to 4.20 lakh.

Rapid urbanisation — at 97.5%, the national capital is already the most urbanised city in India — has drastically shrunk the rural living space too. Between 1961 and 2011, the number of Delhi’s rural villages fell from 276 to 112.

An overstretched city, Delhi is India’s car capital and its people breathe the world’s foulest air. Under the circumstances, it would be suicidal here to lose even an inch of open, green space. And yet, according to the Economic Survey of Delhi released last week, the city was losing its cropped area at 2.28% annually.

Between 2000 and 2016, the farmlands under cultivation decreased from 52,816 to 34,750 hectares. The main reasons for falling agricultural activity in Delhi, the survey stated, was “fast urbanisation and shift in occupational pattern.” In 2011, just 1.31% of Delhi’s workforce was engaged in farming.

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