Only about 100 hectares of the 40,000 hectares under vegetable cultivation in Kashmir currently cater to crops such as broccoli, lettuce and parsley. However, the Jammu & Kashmir administration has begun an outreach programme to encourage farmers of the Valley to cultivate exotic vegetables and herbs such as broccoli, lettuce, celery and parsley to make farming more profitable.
The union territory administration is looking to import seeds from Holland and Spain, which have expertise in cultivating the crops, and distribute them among local farmers at a “reasonable price”, said J&K agriculture department director Altaf Ajaz Andrabi.
As things stand, J&K farmers primarily cultivate vegetables such as cabbage and cauliflower, which are cousins of broccoli, besides potatoes, beans and peas. The crop is consumed locally as well as being sent to other parts of India.
The agriculture department is holding consultations with farmers to raise awareness about non-traditional vegetables and the prospect of greater profits.
“Let us take the example of cauliflower, which has a massive consumption in India, and broccoli, which is still gaining ground in the country,” said Andrabi. “Cauliflower is known as the poor man’s vegetable while broccoli is seen as a rich man’s vegetable in India. So why can’t a farmer cultivate both?” he told theprint.in.