Kangan: At an altitude of over 6800 feet above sea level in Central Kashmir’s Kangan area, a young and progressive farmer Mian Ghulam Naqshband has established a high-density orchard on a sprawling 50 kanals of land.
Situated at Baba Nagri - 10 kilometers from Kangan area of district Ganderbal, Mian’s high-density orchard is a classic example of hard work and dedication. He has successfully established orchards in a slope terrain which he says was tough in comparison to setting up an orchard in a flat piece of land.
Mian, a computer graduate with penchant for entrepreneurship, in 2017 switched from his family business to high density plantation of apples. In four years time, his revenue from the orchard has covered all his investment and now he is earning profit.
“I have a firm belief that high-density plantation is the future. It is as good as a top notch corporate sector job. Until 2017, I was into my family business. Then I heard about high-density farming. The government of J&K was providing subsidies on developing orchards into HDP. I availed this scheme and got a supply of plants from a private firm under the HDP scheme of the government.
“The result after plantation of high density plants was encouraging. Initially I did a high density plantation on seven kanals of land, after witnessing its high profitability I have 50 kanals of land under HDP.”
Was the journey easy? Mian replies in negative. “It is easy to say something but to implement it on ground is a daunting task. To learn about high density plantation I travelled a lot. I went to Himachal Pradesh and spoke to progressive farmers there who had planted hi-density apple crops.
“I have sought advice from several top notch horticulture officials, experts, and also met the experts from Switzerland who had come to SKUAST- K about the high density plantation.
“I must admit that my father gave me full support. With his help I have spread my orchard on 50 kanals of our ancestral land. We got encouraged after seeing that our first HD plants started generating revenue within a year. It was an encouraging sign.
“High density plantation is highly profitable. It gives farmers a return on investments within a period of three years. Besides, there is a huge demand for hi-density apples. I don’t have to sell it anywhere instead the customers throng my farm. It is a highly profitable and farmers must not shy away from switching to the high-density plantation.”
Mian gives credit for his successful venture to two persons. “It was former Chief Minister, Late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed’s idea of introduction HD plantation in Kashmir, he lined up the banks and the horticulture department; and introduced subsidy scheme component to encourage farmers.
“And another person is the owner of Harshana, Khurram Mir- a private firm- who helped me by supplying HD plants and providing technical support during my initial days.”
Mian says that he has travelled across the length and breadth of Kashmir division to know more about the high-density farming. “Wherever I meet progressive farmers who have introduced HD plantation, their profitability rate has gone up. I firmly believe that more people will opt for farming after learning about the modern techniques and high density plantation." Mian's advice to young entrepreneurs: Before venturing into any field, seek its knowledge, talk to experts, veterans of the field and be determined.