Terrace Farming Gains popularity in Shopian

"It not only saves farmers' time but also envelops their dwellings with lush greenery",
The vegetables, according to Mehbooba, fetches her Rs 70,000 to 1,00,000 annually.
The vegetables, according to Mehbooba, fetches her Rs 70,000 to 1,00,000 annually.GK Layout Desk

Unlike other farmers in her locality, Mehbooba does not go to her farm to cultivate vegetables. Instead, she climbs a few flights leading to her rooftop.

Mehbooba (40), a resident of placid Maldera village in south Kashmir's Shopian district, has taken to terrace farming a couple of years ago. Her rooftop spreading around 1200 sq. ft is dotted with multiple poly bags and plastic cases holding different types of vegetables.

Mehbooba grows both conventional and exotic varieties of vegetables, which not only provide enough for her family but also supplement her family's income.

"I cultivate several conventional and exotic varieties of vegetables including calabash, brinjal, cabbage, cherry tomatoes and broccoli," says Mehbooba.

The vegetables, according to Mehbooba, fetches her Rs 70,000 to 1,00,000 annually.

"I have not bought any vegetables from the market ever since I took to terrace farming," she said.

Besides technical guidance, Mehbooba was provided subsidy on seeds and grow bags by the Department of Agriculture.

Mehbooba is not the only terrace cultivator in the district, there are more than two dozen farmers, many of them women, who have turned their rooftops into vegetable gardens.

A few kilometres away in Shamshipora village, Rubeena, a young woman has also converted her rooftop into a kitchen garden.

Rubeena stays clear of using synthetic fertilizers and uses natural and bio-materials like cow dung to grow different varieties of vegetables and fruits.

"I have begun this type of farming only a few months ago and I'm looking forward to a good yield", she said.

Rubeena said that the agriculture officials in her area provided her with quality seeds and grow bags.

In neighbouring Vehil village, Mushtaq Ahmad Lone ( 50), a private school teacher embarked on terrace farming last year and recently supplied vegetables to 50 to 60 households in his neighbourhood.

Lone cultivates vegetables on the rooftop of his house's first floor using only organic manures.

"I cultivate several vegetables in plastic crates, jars and poly bags", Lone said.

Lone also cultivates vegetables like cherry tomatoes, kale and spinach in hanging baskets.

" I collected empty jars, plastic cases, bottles; filled them with soil and cultivated vegetables in them", Lone said.

During the winters, Lone erects polythene sheets over his roof to convert it more or less into a playhouse.

"On my terrace, I grow vegetables round the year", Lone said.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Malik Ayaz, Junior Agriculture Extension Officer at the Department of Agriculture, Shopian said,

"Although terrace farming is in a nascent stage here more and more farmers, particularly women are showing interest in this kind of farming".

He said that for this kind of gardening, one does not need to step out of their homes and this is one of the key reasons that more women are showing interest in terrace farming.

The official said that the department was encouraging terrace farming in the area for a host of reasons.

"It not only saves farmers' time but also envelops their dwellings with lush greenery",

He said that farming also helps to cater for the needs of people living in land-strapped areas.

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