By: Imran Majeed
As much of the world is today realizing anew the potential of agriculture economy and its job creation potential, agri-entrepreneurship is in vogue in Kashmir too.
One of the latest entrants into agriculture entrepreneurship in Kashmir is one of the oldest publishing houses in the town, that, to begin with, has established a large nursery near Srinagar in Budgam district on a 30-kanal piece of land.
The private nursery, established in 2018, is guided by a vision of diversification and going back to the fundamentals of economic development and wellbeing, one of the founders of the group told Ziraat Times.
“There is no doubt in that value addition and focus on greater productivity in agriculture sector in J&K hold immense scope for economic development and job creation for its youth. Our motivation is to do something positive for the society, set an example and create successful models of high-performance horticulture in Kashmir. We have made a small beginning but we want to expand and diversify too”, Managing Director of the group told Ziraat Times.
They also say that the core philosophy of the hi-tech nursery, apart from producing and supplying good quality plant material of diverse horticulture crops to the farming community, was to empower the nearby villages of the nursery.
The striking thing about the venture is that the group has transformed a barren piece of land into a lush green and productive land where several varieties of apple, pear, walnut and other fruit plant material is being produced. Sabzar Nurseries also produce high-density root stocks and graffitable plants. It has plans to produce walnut and almond plants on a large scale.
Eminent horticulture expert Muhammad Hussain Shah has been providing technical guidance for the establishment and the operations of the nursery.
There are other root stock procured for larger multiplication programme while graftable stock (M9) has been grafted with 15 varieties such as Fuji, Scarlet Spur II, Scarlet Spur III, Jeromine, Super Chief , Redlum Gala, Red Vilox, Red Chief Cam Spur, Gala Mast, Red Chief, Zen Fuji, Lal Ambri, Early Red One, Golden Delicious Clone B.
Next year, the group is planning to get its first stock of plant material out in the market.
After the first two years of hard work we are not looking at reaching out to the market with our produce, said Adil Shah, a manager at the nursery.
Currently, the group has 15 varieties of high density apple grafted plant ready. The group is keen to ensure that there is hassle free availability of plants having certified root stocks for farmers.
The group acknowledges the support provided by the Horticulture Department, especially the Director Horticulture in the growth and development of the Sabzar Nursery.
Sabzar Nurseries currently has 8 employees and it is aiming to employ about 40 more through its expansion program.