Mustard farming gains popularity in Kashmir

Farmers said that the cooking oil price is pegged at 200 rupees per litre. "If we cultivate oil and then process it here, it will be financially helpful to farmers as well as help in keeping the prices in check."
Mustard farming gains popularity in Kashmir
A man works in the mustard field in north Kashmir. [File]Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: Amid a slew of initiatives by the government to double farmer’s income, mustard oilseed farming is gaining popularity in Kashmir as the farmers brought more land under its cultivation this year.

A senior Agriculture department official informed that the land under oilseed cultivation in Kashmir has touched one lakh one thousand hectares. “It is almost 50 percent increase in the total area under this crop within few months.”

He said that the J&K administration has set a target to make Kashmir a major producer of edible oil and turn it into a major cash crop for farmers.

“Despite having land suitable for oil cultivation, Kashmir has been an importer of the oilseed from other states. The quality of land and weather makes it best for mustard oil cultivation.”

Ghulam Hassan, a local farmer from Ganderbal’s Bakura area said that farmers have only a few cash crops in Kashmir and if the government initiates measures mustard farming can be profitable.

“This year many programs like providing seeds, scientific interventions, and other agricultural initiatives helped farmers like me to switch to oilseeds."

Farmers said that the cooking oil price is pegged at 200 rupees per litre. " If we cultivate oil and then process it here, it will be financially helpful to farmers as well as help in keeping the prices in check.

Director Agriculture Kashmir, Chowdhary Muhammad Iqbal said that it is for the first time that such a milestone has been achieved by the joint efforts of farmers and the department. “We have done more than expected as we have more than doubled the land that is used for oilseed cultivation this year."

"Land under Mustard cultivation has reached over 1 lakh hectares. Apart from waterlogged land, we roped in horticulture land as after autumn we can use horticulture land as well."

Chowdhary said that the department has received 16 thousand Quintals of seeds from the union government which we distributed among farmers.

"We are moving towards making Kashmir self-sufficient in oilseeds production and also an exporter in near future,” Chowdhary said.

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