Budgam, Aug 30: Bugam village in central Kashmir’s Budgam district has a history of producing large quantities of vegetables for which it is known as ‘’Chhota Punjab’’.
Syed Mubashir, Agriculture Extension Officer, Chadoora, while talking to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) said that Bugam’s agricultural heritage dates back to generations, with farming deep-rooted in the village’s identity.
The village boasts a longstanding tradition of cultivating a wide variety of vegetables, whether it is potato, cabbage, cauliflower, radish or carrots. The fertile soil provides the ideal conditions for these crops to flourish, resulting in abundant yields year after year.
Mubashir said the village has 407 farm-operating families and the total irrigated area is 202 hectares of which 174 hectares of land are used for vegetable cultivation and the rest for potato farming. Three crops are harvested in a year and the production per hectare is 840 quintal, he said.
Last year, revenue of more than Rs 26 crore was generated from the production of vegetables in Bugam village and more than Rs 15 crore this year so far, the officer said, adding that the vegetables approximately worth Rs 27 crore have been sent to markets till now this year.
‘’Almost 40 percent of vegetable production in the district comes out from Bugam village. This year, so far 900 trucks of vegetables which include more than 250 trucks of potatoes have been sent to different locations whether these are local markets or mandis in Kashmir, Jammu, Rajouri or Delhi,” Mubashir said.
The agriculture officer said Bugam has carved out a position for itself as a vegetable haven; supplying fresh produce to local markets and beyond and its contributions are not limited to nourishing its residents.
“The village’s vegetable surplus feeds into the regional economy, reaching markets across the state and even beyond the state. This trade not only bolsters the local economy but also introduces Bugam to a wider audience, highlighting its vital role in the agrarian landscape of Kashmir,” he said.
Syed said the village serves as a crucial source of livelihood for both locals and non-locals. ‘’Men, women, locals, non-locals even the highly educated youths are engaged in vegetable farming and every farming family at least keeps three to four labourers for their daily work in agriculture land. If we wish to organise any kind of camp in the village, no farmer is available as all are busy in farming for all 12 months, Now, we have introduced hi-techs in the village for more production,” he said.
Uzair Lone, a young man of the village associated with vegetable farming, told KNO that Bugam stands as a testament to its rich history of agricultural excellence. ‘’This village has earned the name ‘Chhota Punjab’ and this title pays homage to its remarkable contribution to the region's vegetable supply,” he said.
No matter whether a person is a PhD holder or highly qualified, no one here hesitates to work in agriculture fields and no one gets disappointed due to good outcomes from vegetable farming, Uzair said.