Farmer etches success story in Baramulla

A progressive farmer in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district has etched a success story by turning his agriculture land into a fish pond that also doubles up as a lotus stem farm.

Jalal-U-Din, a resident of Margipora Pattan in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district surprised everyone with his entrepreneurial skills after he successfully converted his three kanal land into a lotus stem farm. The farm produced quintals of lotus stems, production of which was once limited to Dal, Wullar and some other water bodies only.

While talking about his success story, Jalal-U-Din said that after failing to find a Government Job despite having masters in political science, the idea of growing lotus stem in his agriculture land stuck him during his successful stint with the fish farming.

“While sitting on the shores of Dal lake, watching fishes hiding beneath the lotus leafs, the idea of producing lotus stem at my fish pond came to my mind. The idea became a reality after a lot of efforts,” said Jalal-U-Din, owner of fish and lotus farming at Margipora Pattan.

He said, several years back he started fish farming by using his three kanals of land at his village. The fish farm according to Jalal-U-Din had been a successful experience for him and it changed his fortune. However, the 2014 floods unfortunately affected his fish production which decreased drastically. But, the idea of lotus stem farming proved a game changer for him. “With the idea of lotus stem farming, I was supposed to put little efforts only as a fish pond developed on three kanals of land was already in place. I purchased just seeds for it. Though I failed for two consecutive years, however, I was successful in the third year during which I produced quintals of lotus stems and brought it to the market,” said Jalal-U-Din.

He said, “the optimum results can be achieved only when we use seeds in the month of June and by November, its production is ready,” he added. Jalal-U-Din’s experiment of growing lotus stem at his agriculture land has generated huge enthusiasm among local villagers who believe use of agriculture land differently can prove game changer for the villagers.

“The idea can economically empower youth. There are several village youth who after going through the story of Margipora Pattan man want to replicate the experiment at their land. It can prove an economically viable option for them,” said Ghulam Qadir, a resident of Khore Pattan.

The lotus stem is an important vegetable consumed in Kashmir and the trade provides a livelihood to thousands of people across Kashmir.  The vendors in all the busy markets across Kashmir sell lotus stems especially during winters. It is also extensively used for making pickle. When it comes to Kashmiri cuisine, one of the most famous preparations uses lotus stem and fish during winters. Other recipes such as nadru with spinach and meat are also popular