Kulgam farmer’s unique way of farming

Kashmir Magazine

Younus Rashid

Abdul Rashid Laway, a farmer from Manzgam Kulgam, has been farming in a unique way for last thirty years. He hasn’t used chemical fertilizers; instead, he relies solely on cowdung bio-fertilizer. This approach has helped him grow more than two dozen types of crops. His innovative farming recently earned him prestigious recognition for his sustainable practices.
He received a “Millionaire Farmer of India” title at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), PUSA, Delhi.
The awards organised by Krishi Jagran, known for its innovative initiatives in India’s farming and agriculture industry, conferred the Millionaire Farmers of India (MFOI) Awards 2023.
Laway said that the “Millionaire Farmer of India” awards are sponsored by Mahindra Tractors Ltd. These awards recognize progressive farmers excelling in the fields of horticulture and agriculture.
The agriculturalist received the “Champion Farmer” award in recognition of outstanding contributions in the field of diversification (horticulture) in 2021 from SKUAST Kashmir, presented by the Lieutenant Governor. And, was also honored as the “Progressive Farmer” of the Year in 2017 by the District Administration, Kulgam.
“For the last thirty years, I’ve refrained from using any chemical fertilizers, relying solely on bio-fertilizers like cowdung,” he said.
He said, “we manage around 30 Kanals of horticulture land where we cultivate roughly 30 different crop varieties. For instance, we grow four varieties of grapes, three to four varieties of peaches and apricots each, and approximately 5-6 types of pears—all traditional. Besides, we tend to about 10-15 varieties of apples.”
He said, farming holds immense potential, urged farmers to preserve their agricultural heritage and refrain from disrupting nature through excessive chemical use. The traditional farming methods are eco-friendly and economically advantageous for orchards and crops, saving a significant amount of money.
“Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Kulgam has consistently provided knowledge and guidance for effective organic farming,” he said, adding that the overuse of chemical fertilizers will be a disaster for the environment in the future.
Manzoor Ahmad, Head of KVK Kulgam, said Laway’s horticulture orchard in Manzgam Kulgam, spanning about 30 kanals where he cultivates apples, grapes, almonds, pears, peaches, plums, cherries, and walnuts.
“He (Laway) has integrated a Dairy unit, Poultry unit, and vermicompost with the orchard. He exclusively employs organic methods, utilizing vermicompost, Farm yard Manure (FYM), and on-farm products for crop cultivation,” Ahmad added.