Sunday, October 17News That Matters

Rashid’s roof becomes a shining light for organic farmers in Shopian

Agriculture dept provides seeds of high-yielding vegetables, trial of saffron now on

Shopian: To overcome the problem of vegetables getting contaminated by chemical fertilisers, pesticides and fungicides, a 52-year-old Shopian man has come up with the innovative idea of growing vegetables on the terrace of his single-storey house.

Haroon Rashid, 55, a resident of Vehil village, some five kilometers from Shopian town, is growing vegetables on the rooftop of his house for the past five years. He said that the organic vegetables have helped him earn Rs 1.5 lakh during these five years.

Rashid said that all the vegetables on his roof are grown with organic methods without use of any fertiliser or pesticide. “We only use the wastes of poultry and in use the vegetable wastes to rear poultry,” he said, adding that this practice takes him less time to grow vegetables.

“My wife, Shakeel Banoo, works on it as I remain busy in orchards,” Rashid said.

The seeds for growing the vegetables are being provided to him by the Shopian agriculture department, he said.

Rashid said that all the seeds given to him by the agriculture department are high-breed varieties which not only grow before other varieties but also are better in quality and more in quantity. “I started this in 2017 for family use but in 2019 with the help of agriculture department and KVK Balpora, we took it to the commercial level and, thank God, it helped us a lot both in generating income and also in eating better vegetables without any contamination,” he said.

He said that the scientists of Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) Balpora trained him and his wife in organic methods of growing vegetables.

Rashid has also been provided with three crates of saffron seeds for trial purposes, and so far this costly spice is growing well. “If we succeed here, the saffron seeds will be distributed among other people in the district,” he said.

Many people in the village are planning to grow vegetables on the rooftops of their houses after getting inspired by Haroon Rashid. Rashid said that he has distributed over 40,000 seedlings this year to local farmers through the agriculture department. He said he grows dozens of vegetables including aloe vera using pots and crates.

Rashid told Kashmir Reader that during winters he covers the vegetables in a green house which helps him grow fresh vegetables even in winters and also grow seedlings for sowing early in the next spring season.

 

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