Srinagar: Bougam, a hamlet in the Chadoora area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district is fondly called as “Mini Punjab” for producing high quality vegetables in huge quantities.
On the agricultural land of the village, lush green gardens of various kinds of vegetables are visible as far as sight goes in which men, women, local and non-local laborers are seen engaged in work all the time.
The landlords of this village prefer to grow different types of vegetables instead of fruit orchards to increase their income and this trend is spreading to the adjoining villages as well, a local land owner Fayaz Ahmad told UNI.
He said, “all the farmers in our village not only feed their families but also provide employment to others by growing vegetables in their fields”, adding that “the farmers remain busy throughout the year in their vegetable fields”.
Shaukat Ahmad, a landowner, said they are growing different types of vegetables and sending them to the winter capital of the Union Territory, Jammu and other valley markets for sale on a routine basis. He said all members of his family including women remain busy throughout the year looking after their vegetable fields.
Shaukat said that at least eight labourers including non-local and family members remain engaged with a particular field from March to November growing different seasonal vegetables every year.
The land owner said besides earning handsomely for the family, villagers also provide employment to others including non-local labourers who mostly come from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.
He said the vegetables of Bougam village are considered as quality vegetables and the farmers work day and night to grow them with natural resources as fertilizers. However, he alleged that the concerned authorities are not supporting agriculture as much as they could have done.
Another vegetable grower said that people in this village prefer living by growing different kinds of quality vegetables instead of growing apple orchards.
He said “I have been growing various types of vegetables on my land for the past 20 years, and I am not feeding my family but giving work to many people to earn as well.”
“Through this vegetable growing work, I provide my children the best education and fulfill their other needs as well”, he added.
He said children do not need to search for employment, just work hard in the agriculture field, grow vegetables of different kinds, one never will feel the need for the government job and even could provide work to others by paying them handsomely.
He said the vegetables being grown in the Bougam village are naturally good in taste and absolutely better in quality in every respect.
Seeing the prosperous and flourishing business of people of village Bougam, the neighboring villagers have also turned their fields into vegetable gardens.
He said the educated youth of the village are also helping their families in growing vegetables besides continuing their education.
He said if the government will help us, this sector will be more stable, which can help in reducing unemployment to a great extent in the valley.
A trader who identified himself as Mohammad Amin said the livelihood of many people is also related to this business.
He said vegetables are the need of every household, whether it is a rich family or a poor, so this sector is going to grow, this business can never decline.