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Grow sweet corn not maize, J&K govt advises farmers

Kashmir’s Agriculture department has also approached University of Agriculture Sciences and Technology in Srinagar, asking them to submit a report on types of sweet corn varieties that could be grown in Kashmir. For now, the department imports sweet corn seed variety from Holland.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 06, 2019, 02.15 PM IST
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Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir government has started an outreach program urging farmers to replace traditional maize crop with sweet corn, which is more profiting and would address fodder deficit in Valley.

Farmers with the assistance and advice of J&K’s agricultural department are growing sweet corn on 500 hectares while as the maize is grown on around 80,000 hectares across Kashmir.

Kashmir’s Agriculture department has also approached University of Agriculture Sciences and Technology in Srinagar, asking them to submit a report on types of sweet corn varieties that could be grown in Kashmir. For now, the department imports sweet corn seed variety from Holland. The Agriculture University has developed an indigenous sweet corn variety known as Shalimar sweet corn and another hybrid variety known as Sugar-75.

“We have to look ahead of times and try to get our farmer out of misery and poverty. Sweet corn is a priced commodity and it would fetch much more prices than maize,” Director Agriculture Kashmir, Altaf Ajaz Andrabi told ET.

Climate in Kashmir, like in some places in Europe and USA is suitable for growing sweet corn and the product could be exported to other states within the country and abroad as well.

“There is shortage of fodder in Kashmir and growing sweet corn will address the problem. We will have quality fodder available. This product could be canned and used for industrial purposes as well,” said Andrabi.

In J&K around 70 percent of the population resides in the rural areas and are directly or indirectly dependent upon the sector for their livelihood. As per J&K Economic Survey of 2017, agriculture contributes 19.48 percent to GSDP.

“Sweet corn is a priced commodity and it could augment the status of the farmer. But we have to first identity the market and supply chain. This crop has the potential and we have produced an indigenous variety as well,” Vice Chancellor of University of Agriculture Sciences, Nazeer Ahmad told ET.

Apart from sweet corn agriculture department has also started other programs for farmers urging them to grow exotic vegetables like broccoli, lettuce and celery instead of traditional cauliflowers. The farmers could make more money especially during the summer months, when there is dearth of these vegetables in big metro cities across India.

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