Fluctuating prices, adulterated cooking oils foster revival of mustard cultivation in Kashmir

Date:

Mubashir Aalam Wani

Srinagar, May 02 : Abdul Majeed Khan, a farmer from Baramulla had given up growing mustard crop for more than a decade.

Given the ample hard work and bulk production of rice, he had started concentrating on selected crops to suffice his needs.

As per news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), for the last three years, he again switched to mustard crop since the cooking oil prices have skyrocketed. “Though growing this crop requires immense hard work, growing mustard not only ensures a steady income but also provides us with pure and healthy cooking oil,” he Khan said.

Khan is not an isolated case as all the farmers in his village have started growing mustard again which for years was avoided by the for various reasons.

Amid concerns over fluctuating prices and the presence of adulterated cooking oils in the market, Kashmiri farmers are turning back to traditional mustard cultivation, signaling a revival of the once-prominent crop in the region.

In recent years, Kashmir has witnessed a surge in imported edible oils, which often come with price fluctuations and quality concerns due to adulteration. This has led to a growing distrust among consumers and a renewed interest in locally produced alternatives.

Mustard, a staple crop in Kashmir’s agriculture, is known for its versatility and resilience in the region’s climate. The mustard oil extracted from these seeds is not only a vital ingredient in Kashmiri cuisine but also holds cultural significance.

“The volatility in prices of imported oils and the alarming cases of adulteration have prompted us to rethink our farming practices,” says Mohammad Hanif, a farmer from Pulwama.

As per the figures, in 2020-21, the area under mustard cultivation in the valley was 30,000 hectares. The total area to be brought under oilseeds cultivation during the year 2023-24 increased to 140000 hectares.

The shift towards mustard cultivation is also being supported by various government initiatives and agricultural programs aimed at promoting sustainable farming practices and enhancing food security in the region.

“The resurgence of mustard cultivation in Kashmir is a positive step towards achieving self-sufficiency in edible oil production. By encouraging local farmers to grow mustard, we are a revitalizing the agricultural economy of the region,” an official said—(KNO)

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