From Himalayan foothills to the shores of Goa

Kosher Organic, a zero waste boutique store makes waves in Goa
From Himalayan foothills to the shores of Goa
“Kosher organic, a zero waste boutique store, was a dream project and it took off beautifully with the support from our well-wishers in Kashmir and Goa,” founder Fahad Mir told Greater Kashmir.Source: Kosher Organics/ Fahad Mir

A zero-waste concept store that claims to have carried best quality organic products from the peaks of Himalayas located in Vagator, Goa is creating waves among its dedicated customers.

Isadon Flower Honey, Morel Mashrooms and Organic cumin are few products that Kosher as a brand has literally crossed mountains of Kashmir and brought to the shores of Goa.

Fahad Mir (36) , his wife Bibi Aaidah and Deepesh Sharma, the founders of Kosher, by the quality of their products and getting something as rare and specific as Isodon Flower Honey proves that point.

Kosher organic, a zero waste boutique store, was a dream project and it took off beautifully with the support from our well-wishers in Kashmir and Goa,” founder Fahad Mir told Greater Kashmir. “Many popular faces from Goa and Mumbai have been a great support to us,” he said.

‘Dream Project’

Kosher organic, zero waste boutique store, a dream project of Bibi & Fahad has been creating waves as far as the services are concerned. Bibi Aaidah fell in love with Kashmir back in 2010 on her maiden visit. She was completely in awe of the fresh produce the locals ate from their kitchen garden and that laid the foundation of organic produce and conscious eating.

Fahad, belongs to a family working in the construction business, but he had a keen interest in promoting the organic produce of Kashmir.

He shortlisted the pristine forest of gyres valley, as well the much treasured morel mushrooms and planned to get the produce to a larger international audience.

“This could not have been possible without the immense support of entrepreneur Deepesh Sharma, a renowned fitness enthusiast and owner of chains of restaurants around the country,” Mir says.

“Together the three of us are determined to turn kosher into a one of a kind food brand delivering the Kashmir valleys richest and finest produce on your table.” “So, we took our dream products to the wonderful state of Goa where we opened our first flagship store by the name of kosher,” he says.

Kosher is now catering organic needs of many celebrities nationwide as well as abroad

“We are here to advocate for unadulterated food and products encouraging our consumers to indulge in real, hygienic and natural,” co-founder Bibi Aaidah, says. “Our vision is to promote our core belief, the art of healthy living.”

“We started this brand in 2018 but opened the first store in Dec 2019. We choose the name Kosher because all our products come from Kashmir and we cater to Ness Wadia and Malika Arora and Reha Kapoor.”

‘Eating Healthy’

At a time when there is a growing demand for organic food all over the world, the brand Kosher has introduced a complete organic solution market in Srinagar and Goa.

Mir says that there is a boom in the organic food industry and with time it has not just gained popularity but demand is also on the rise. In the coming years, several factors are expected to lead to its growth.

“Our products are untreated, unprocessed and unpasteurized. They naturally contain antibacterial properties, vitamins and healing components that are vital for the human body,” Mir says.

‘Zero-waste Policy’

Besides encouraging the world to indulge in an all-natural ecosystem, Kosher also supports and practices a zero-waste policy with no plastic usage. The packaging of the products is in reusable glass containers. Our brand takes necessary efforts to keep our world safe and green, away for the hazards of human intervention. Kosher is now catering to the fresh, pure, organic needs of many celebrities nation-wide as well as abroad.

The organic food industry in the valley has been blooming with high demands. In the coming years, several factors are expected to push its growth. The government of India has projected the domestic organic food market to touch 1.36 billion US dollars by 2020.

The agriculture industry of Kashmir is worth Rs 1600 crore and the growth every year is leading to better changes. Organic farming in the Kashmir valley is being done on approximately 50 thousand hectares of land and has become an exciting prospect for the youngsters.

The government of India projected the domestic organic food market to touch the 1.36 billion US dollar mark by 2020.

‘Lifestyle Revolution’

New York-based master chef Michel Nischan says, “Eating organic food is no longer a fad but a necessity. When we think of wellness issues, there are a variety of things involved, but food is the most important one.” “It is a lifestyle revolution. From being tucked away in obscure corners of cottage emporiums or available only at select delicatessens, organic brands are now everywhere, from supermarkets to restaurant menus. The first branded organic rice, Hello Basmati rice, was launched recently; Golden Bananas are the first naturally ripened bananas to be sold as a brand; Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars are snacks made of natural wholegrain oats, fruits and nuts, with no artificial preservatives.”

Young Mumbai based Kashmiri businessman, Feroz Hussain, says that a "Customers who regularly buy organic produce tend to mostly buy direct from growers, and only in the past two years have dozens of new sale points opened." He says that market was still comparatively small. But it involves a wide range of players, including the Super-Sol and Mega supermarket chains, specialized chains and growers with direct sales to their own customer base.

Hussain, who along with his friends launched New Kash Agro Concerns, a private limited company, based in Srinagar, says that the industry, if given proper attention by the government, would generate handsome earnings for the growers.

Meanwhile Mir says that the major chains, however, haven't fallen behind and are striving to seize a chunk of this market niche and expand their organic offerings.

"It should be understood that we have a developing trend here that has passed the point of no return, and it's just getting stronger," Mir says. "We have to work to create a niche in this market and it won’t happen overnight, however, a process where consumers are becoming more aware and include more items considered healthy on their shopping lists."

5 Govt schemes, promoting organic farming

Cultivable land area under organic farming has increased from 11.83 lakh hectare in 2014 to 29.17 lakh hectare in 2020 due to the focused efforts of the government. Over the years, the organic promotion activities led to development of state specific organic brands, increased domestic supply and exports of organic produce from the north eastern region. Taking cue from the success of the organic initiatives, a target of 20 lakh hectare additional area coverage by 2024 is envisaged in the vision document. Awareness programmes, availability of adequate post- harvest infrastructure, marketing facilities, premium price for the organic produce among others would certainly motivate farmers towards organic farming thereby increasing organic coverage across India. The government of India provides assistance for promoting organic farming across the country through different schemes.

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY): Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana promotes cluster based organic farming with PGS (Participatory Guarantee System) certification. Cluster formation, training, certification and marketing are supported under the scheme. Assistance of Rs. 50,000 per ha /3 years is provided out of which 62 percent (Rs. 31,000) is given as incentive to a farmer towards organic inputs.

Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCDNER): The scheme promotes third party certified organic farming of niche crops of north east region through Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) with focus on exports. Farmers are given assistance of Rs 25,000 per hectare for three years for organic inputs including organic manure and bio-fertilisers among other inputs. Support for formation of FPOs, capacity building, post-harvest infrastructure up to Rs 2 crore are also provided in the scheme.

Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme (CISS) under Soil Health Management Scheme: Under this scheme, 100 percent assistance is provided to state government, government agencies for setting up of mechanised fruit and vegetable market waste, agro waste compost production unit up to a maximum limit of Rs 190 lakh per unit (3000 Total Per Annum TPA capacity). Similarly, for individuals and private agencies assistance up to 33 percent of cost limit to Rs 63 lakh per unit as capital investment is provided.

National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP): Under the Mission, financial assistance at 50 percent subsidy to the tune of Rs. 300 per hectare is being provided for different components including bio-fertilisers, supply of Rhizobium culture, Phosphate Solubilising Bacteria (PSB), Zinc Solubilising Bacteria (ZSB), Azatobacter, Mycorrhiza and vermicompost.

National Food Security Mission (NFSM): Under NFSM, financial assistance is provided for promotion of bio-fertiliser (Rhizobium/PSB) at 50 percent of the cost limited to Rs 300 per hectare.

As per international resource data from Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) Statistics 2020, India stands at 9th position in terms of certified agricultural land with 1.94 million hectare (2018-19).

Greater Kashmir