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Black Cumin, Rajma from Gurez, Paper Machie among products displayed at G20 event

By: Sajid Raina

Srinagar, May 22: Three products from Bandipora were displayed at the ongoing third G20 Tourism Working Group meeting at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Center (SKICC).

Black Cumin (Kaala Zeera) cultivated amidst the lush forests of Gurez Valley, organic Rajma sourced from Tulail Valley, and exquisite paper machie products from Sumbal were displayed at a stall.

Gurez black cumin is renowned for its aromatic properties, herbal benefits, and medicinal value. Organic Rajma (Kidney Beans) from the region is known across the country for its distinctive flavor and aroma while the artists of Sumbal create exquisite paper machie art pieces known for their captivating aesthetics and visual allure.

According to Shreen Shafi, the District Programme Manager of Bandipora, the G20 summit in Srinagar has brought immense benefits to the Self-Help Groups registered at the JK Rural Livelihood Mission. The event has provided them with a valuable platform to showcase their products at the exhibition.

Shafi explained that the Kala Zeera and Rajma have been branded as “Gurez Naturals” by SRLM.

“This presents a remarkable opportunity to introduce these products to a global audience. These products are already accessible through popular online shopping platforms such as Amazon,” she told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO).

She also said that despite the formidable terrain and isolated location of Gurez and Tulial sub-divisions within the Bandipora district, JKRLM-Umeed adopted a creative approach to foster entrepreneurship.

“They accomplished this by establishing women-led self-help groups (SHGs),” she added.

She added that these groups were inspired to create an activity-focused collective and gather wild black zeera. They discovered that the spice was in high demand and possessed remarkable medicinal properties.

“Thanks to the support from JKRLM, the group successfully launched the brand “Gurez Naturals,” enabling them to sell their product online and overcome commercial isolation,” she explained.

“This strategic choice gave the group a competitive advantage in the market and facilitated the establishment of their brand, ‘Gurez Naturals’,” she emphasized.

By leveraging online sales, the group effectively expanded their reach to a broader audience and mitigated the challenges of operating in a remote location thus avoiding commercial isolation, she said.

Officials said that the display of “Gurez Naturals” brand serves as a testament to the remarkable impact of entrepreneurship in driving positive change within both individuals and communities. “Through the empowerment of women and the provision of necessary resources and support, organizations like JKRLM-Umeed are fostering sustainable and inclusive pathways for development,” an official said.

—(KNO)

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