A young farmer from Kanjiullar Shopian, Imran Rashid Khan, with a Postgraduate degree in Botany subject has been switching farming practices from chemical-based farming to organic one.
I was curious about finding ways to cut down the input cost of farming and during my research, the most surprising thing for me was when I came to know about the rampant use of fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides being a major cause of gastrointestinal cancer in Kashmir particularly in south Kashmir and apple growing areas of north Kashmir.
Imran decided to convert the biowaste particularly kitchen waste and cow dung into a decomposed manure in a short and cost-effective way. Ultimately he succeeded in making a homemade culture that is in fluid form and can be used while irrigating orchards at a very less and feasible price. He is using this product since 2018 and got good results as the soil fertility increased. According to Imran, the dependency on the chemical products decreased by 60 percent after decomposing the biowaste and using that as manure in the farms.
According to a research conducted by the Department of Neurosurgery, Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Srinagar, Kashmir – 389 out of 432 patients (90%) admitted over a period of 4 years from January 2005 to December 2008, with primary malignant brain tumors were orchard-farm workers, orchard residents and orchard playing children exposed to the high levels of multiple types of chemicals used in orchards of Kashmir. The report concludes that all orchard-related 389 patients had high-grade tumors as compared to the non-pesticide tumors.
The use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides consisting of chemicals like chlorpyriphos, dimethoate, mancozeb, and captan has increased multi-fold in the past two decades in Kashmir. To control pests, fungus, and insects, it is mostly used by farmers to enhance the crop and increase production.