Udhampur: Farmers in Panchari village of Udhampur district in Jammu and Kashmir are earning good profits who adopted walnut farming with the aid of the horticulture department of the union territory.
With the intervention of the horticulture department, several farmers have adopted the new trend of switching to walnut farming from traditional farming. The concerned department is also engaged in spreading awareness about growing walnut and providing hybrid seeds that yield better quality products.
This initiative by the horticulture department is aiming to achieve PM Narendra Modi's target of doubling farmers' income by 2022. The diversification of agriculture plays a major role in increasing the farmers' income and production by decreasing the input cost.
Farmers in Panchari, who are solely dependent on agriculture to earn their livelihood, said that they are earning huge profits and walnut farming became their new ray of hope to stay afloat.
Pritam Kumar, a farmer in Panchari asserted that shifting to walnut farming has helped him and others in the village earn better income.
" Earlier, we used to produce vegetables, wheat and corn only. We did not know about walnut farming back then. The administration helped us by creating awareness and providing good seeds. I have been growing walnut for 4-5 years now," he said.
Another farmer, Angrez Singh said that walnut farming has not only helped farmers earn better but also the labourers in the field.
"A good quality walnut is being produced here. Panchari is no less than other districts of the union territory. With the efforts of the horticulture department, new schemes were brought and farmers were made aware about the crop. Thus, the quality of walnuts produced here has improved leading to an increase in income as well. Not only farmers but the labourers have also been benefitted. Walnut grown here is 100 per cent organic," he said.
"I thank the department for making us aware about walnut farming," he added.
Balbir Singh, a labourer who works in fields of walnut trees, said, "For 2-3 years, I have been working here. The work is good as we get good money."
The farmers have now urged the administration to establish a market for their produce to expand the business.
Meanwhile, Sarpanch Kuldeep Kumar also echoed the same opinion of walnut farming, benefitting the villagers. He also urged the administration to establish a market for their produce to expand the business.
"Almost 30 years ago, walnut trees were very less in Panchari. Hundreds of us are employed today. We also appeal to the administration of the union territory to open a store/market to sell our fruits," he said.