Amid the rise of unemployment, people in the Bugam area of Chadora, in Jammu and Kashmir, are earning their livelihood from vegetable cultivation.
With almost every household here connected with the cultivation, the area is also called “Chota Punjab.”
With as far as the eye would go the Bugam village of Chadoora Tehsil of Central Kashmir’s Budgam District, you will see vegetable cultivations, and people working in fields. Almost everyone in this area is growing vegetables from agricultural land and earning their own livelihood.
And it is not only the job of men, but both men and women work together in their fields. When asked about their livelihood, they say “it is the best source of employment at the present time when there is unemployment”.
Even educated youth can be seen engaged in the cultivation of vegetables.
News agency spoke to these vegetable growers to find out the conditions as well as the profits. A farmer named Shabbir Ahmad said that he has been doing this work for 20 years and since he got involved in the cultivation, his livelihood had improved.
“Growing vegetables has given me a job and a good profit. I am also meeting my daily needs in addition to my expenses and education of my wards with the earnings of this cultivation,” he said.
Ali Muhammad Bhat, another farmer, said that if the market is right, it is much better than a government job. “Nowadays there is unemployment and if one has his own land, he should not leave it idle, take step forward and cultivate vegetables and if the market is right, it is much better than a government job,” he said.
People also say that it’s a job that everyone in the household can do. However, the rate has been described as low in the market due to non-availability of a vegetable mandi. They have to send the crop abroad which also causes the rate to drop.
Vegetable farmers said that if a Mandi was set up here, they would get good compensation. “We don’t get the rate in the market due to the kind of hard work we do, there is no market here and we have to pay a commission to the traders, after which we sell our vegetables,” said a local resident.
Meanwhile, the farmers of the area said that the administration does not pay any attention to them, although everyone is involved in it, but the agriculture department pays less attention here. They further said that if fertilizers and other expenses were provided on time, their harvest would have increased further.
The area is a village of Chadoora Tehsil of Budgam and is just a few kilometers away from Srinagar. Vegetable gardens on both sides of the road will be seen here, with people not only cultivating vegetables, but also have large orchards of apples.