Facing low yields, Kupwara farmers shifting to aromatic cash crops

The project is being run by the science and technology department in collaboration with the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR-IIIM), Jammu.

AMIN MASOODI
Kupwara, Publish Date: Jan 14 2018 12:45AM | Updated Date: Jan 14 2018 12:45AM
Facing low yields, Kupwara farmers shifting to aromatic cash cropsFile Photo

Despite his best efforts, Mohammad Sultan Margay, a farmer, from a drought-hit Nutnoosa area of Kupwara district, could not get much out of his land last year.

The preceding years were no better. Ditto for most of the farmers in the village, Kandi, where paddy and maize cultivation is mostly rain-fed and irrigation facilities are lacking.

But Magray and other farmers have now pinned hope on a government-run project, 5000-K, that promotes cultivation of aromatic cash crops like lavender.

The project is being run by the science and technology department in collaboration with the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR-IIIM), Jammu.

The 5000-K stands for the 5000 kanals of the department plans to bring under cultivation of aromatic plants in three phases by 2020. So far 400 kanals have been brought under the cultivation of these crops.

“The poor yield during preceding years has pushed my family to poverty. I hope the cultivation of high yielding aromatic crops will improve my situation,” said Margay who owns 10 kanals.

The science and technology department last year grew Tagetus (marigold flower) in several remote areas such as Waisa Kaonar, Hafrada, Dard-e-Harri, Rengpath, Nagri, Kukroosa, Gonipora and Natnusa.

The department plans growing lavender (for its highly prized oil) in Machipora, Gonipora, Natnusa, Dard-e-Harri, Kukroosa, Bahadurpora, and Nagri. 

“The 5000-K project mostly targets the rain-fed areas. It is aimed at raising the socio-economic conditions of poor farmers by harnessing the irrigation-starved land, which of course, is most suitable for growing medicinal and aromatic plants,” said Dr Mehraj Din Bhat, joint director State Science Technology and Innovation Council.

He said Kashmir climate and natural factors favour cultivation of cash crops.