Organic Market (Photo Credit: News Nation)
At a time when there is a growing demand for Organic food all over the world, Kashmir Agriculture Department for the first time has introduced a complete organic market in Srinagar. People all over the world are getting cautious about the use of fertilisers and pesticides on vegetables and fruits and are switching to Organic food. Kashmir's agriculture industry is worth 1600 crores and it's growing every year.
With approximately around 50 thousand hectares of land under it. Government says more youth are getting involved in agricultural activities. As they find the Organic farming cost effective as well as healthy. ''We had initiated this Programme three years ago. This is the 4th year of the process. To convert a farm to Organic one, it takes three years and fourth year produce is considered as organic. This produce is free of any chemicals, fertilisers, and pesticides. There are no heavy metals also found in them which could otherwise be toxic.'' and also from heavy metals these metals are toxic, says Ajaz Andrabi, Director Agriculture, Kashmir.
A retail market in the Agriculture Department's Head office is being held daily for people interested in organic food. A lot of them say that it's taking them back to old times when farmers only used green manure instead of chemical based fertilizers and Pesticides. '' It's like taking us to old times, food without any fertilizer or pesticides. We have come here for the first time and we are expecting it to be good. Organic food is good for health, says Zahoor Ahmad, Buyer. Kashmir has large agricultural and horticultural productions and now the government wants to push for healthy eating. A lot of people in the valley have already switched to organic foods. And it's visible when the sale counters are empty within hours of starting the sale. ''Organic farming is a very cheap form of farming. We don't use any chemicals, fertilizers for the crops. We have been using cow dung instead of expensive fertilisers and its reaping us huge benefits. I am making around 400 rupees daily on the sale of vegetables. says Irshad Ahmad, Farmer. Now, the farmers are expecting that the government will start these retail smarkets in every district of Kashmir.