Ganderbal: With the development of technology, farmers in the Ganderbal district have begun growing watermelons, and their successful harvests have attracted other growers.
The Ganderbal district in central Kashmir, known for growing unique grape and cherry varieties, has just begun growing watermelons.
Watermelons are now being grown in different areas of block Wakura, including the villages of Ahan and Batwina.
Farmers in central Kashmir's Ganderbal district who have started growing the fruit crop in their fields are earning good returns, and the trend of growing watermelon fruits in some areas is gaining momentum here. The juicy watermelon is well-known throughout the world for its health benefits and delectable taste.
Shabir Ahmed, a grower said that he has been cultivating watermelons in his fields for the last three years, adding that if the farmers are provided with proper information, knowledge and awareness the crop can fetch good returns.
He said that they had cultivated the watermelon as an experimental crop and so far they are satisfied with the income generated from it. "Last year we incurred some losses but this year the rates are good and we expect good income," Ahmad said.
Another farmer said that people in Kashmir Valley prefer to relish watermelons during the summer and we are hopeful that the demand will be good and people will prefer locally cultivated watermelons.
"If the horticulture or agriculture department provides us with further information regarding the cultivation of watermelon, it would be of great help and may increase the income of farmers, he said.
Chief Horticulture Officer Ganderbal didn't respond to the calls by this correspondent.
Meanwhile, an official of the Agriculture department in Ganderbal said that around 20 kanals of land is under cultivation for watermelon which mostly is in Batwina and adjacent areas.
The agriculture department, in the last few years, has taken an initiative in collaboration with the local farm owners to introduce and grow genetically modified seeds of several varieties of melons, an experiment which has largely proved successful.
The production of melons in the valley can keep this fruit variety available in the valley even after the season is over in the rest of India as the ripening and reaping season differs from the mainlands of India.