Press Trust of India

Tomato farmers in Budgam are upbeat over soaring demand

Tomato farmers in Budgam are upbeat over soaring demand
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Price rise, short supply and modern farming techniques help them to scale profits

Budgam: Tomato farmers in Budgam district have seen their income double this year, thanks to a sharp rise in the crop’s prices and the modern farming techniques they have employed, leading to a bumper harvest.

Khursheed Ahmad Bhat, who set up a tomato farm in Narkara village of Budgam district more than a decade ago, said this year he is not having to worry about whether his produce will fetch him the right price.

“There is a scarcity of tomatoes in the market, and people have been directly approaching me to buy them. I have been offered a higher price since tomatoes are in short supply, but I am selling at a fixed price of Rs 150 per kg,” Bhat told PTI.

Bhat said apart from the current market scenario surrounding the crop, the department of agriculture deserves a fair share of the credit for the profits he is earning now.

“I have been into farming for over 10 years. Four years ago, I underwent a training session in Bengaluru that was organised by the department of agriculture. I learnt about modern techniques such as polyhouse farming,” he said.

“In 2020, shortly after I returned, Covid-19 hit, and I started implementing the new techniques on a trial basis. In my very first trial, one plant yielded 4-5 kg of tomatoes. After seeing the results, I built more polyhouses. In the first year, I built a 2500-square feet polyhouse which helped me earn around Rs 1 lakh. This was far more than the Rs 25,000-30,000 I used to earn in a kanal (5,440 square feet), following traditional farming methods,” Bhat said.

“This year, because of the unavailability in the market, tomato prices have sky-rocketed. But my tomato produce is booming and I am earning good profits,” he said.

Javid Mohiuddin Dar, circle officer, Budgam district, department of agriculture, said Bhat was among of the farmers who followed a ‘holistic agriculture programme’ of which high-tech polyhouse farming is a part.

“Many farmers are enrolling themselves under the project. Bhat adopted high-tech vegetable farming techniques while farming tomato crops. In this method of farming, one plant yields 15 kilograms of tomatoes as these are of hybrid quality. One polyhouse consists of 850 plants,” Dar said.

Mohammad Shameem Akhter, who works at Bhat’s farm, said while the crop yield this year was good and the demand has also been high.

“I have been working in farms for 15 years. Thanks to high-tech farming methods, the yield is higher as compared to previous years. As there is a deficiency of tomatoes in the market, people come directly to the farm and purchase in bulk,” he said.

Khursheed Ahmad Dar, who had come to purchase tomatoes at Bhat’s farm, said, “Tomatoes are costly and not easily available now. The tomatoes I bought here are of good quality.”

Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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