The Department of Agriculture, Kashmir has set up an organic vegetable market in Lal Mandi, Srinagar to revive the traditional organic farming, an important part of Kashmiri tradition.
In an effort to boost organic farming, the administration had started its first organic vegetable market last year but due to the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, the farmers could not manage to produce and continue organic farming.
This time around, with the immense efforts of vegetable experts who from time to time visit farmers in their fields and motivate them to restart the activities of organic farming by assuring full support from the agriculture department, the organic vegetable market was set up.
Mohamad Yousuf, who set up a stall at the organic market, emphasises the benefits of organic produce.
Speaking to ANI, he said, “One of the benefits of organic farming is that expensive chemicals are not required to grow fruits and vegetables. While the second is that the vegetables produced in organic farming are good for people and it has no side effects.”
The market revieved a good response with many people turning up to buy the produce.
Some like Masrat Quasar liked the exotic variety available at the market.
Acknowledging the advantage of organic produce, she said, “We will be able to buy vegetables readily available at one place with a wide variety. They are organic with high nutrition value. From that perspective, it is a good initiative.”
She also urged the administration to set up similiar organic markets at more places so that it can reach maximum number of people.
Rubeena Tabasum, a progressive farmer, believes that the initiative will be beneficial to farmers because they can sell their produce directly at the market.
“Organic vegetables are very healthy as they are chemical-free. No pesticides are used. These chemicals are very hazardous to human life. Now people would not have to go look for places where organic vegetables would be available. Even for farmers, it a good initiative as they can directly sell their produce here,” she said.
According to Mohamad Iqbal Chowdry, Director Agriculture, Kashmir, the aim of the department is to uplift farmers from just working as labourers. “They should provide jobs,” he said.
“The vegetables produced in Kashmir are very nutritious as our land is very fertile. It is the aim of the Agriculture Department to uplift the farmers. They must not only work as labourers, but they should also provide jobs. This can only be achieved by some intervention and this organic farming is a major intervention,” Chowdry said. (