Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], June 23 (ANI): As life after Covid-induced lockdown eases back to normal, the harvest of mulberry fruit in the Mirgund nursery located on the outskirts of Srinagar, is in full swing.
The growers of the fruit are delighted with their production, as it is better this year as compared to the last year, owing to the favourable climatic conditions.
Sarwar Mir, a grower of mulberry fruit, said, "The fruit is seasonal, and the harvest will continue for another week or so. Even though the season was delayed due to the lockdown, we have earned well."
"We estimate the value of our produce through the price we are offered by the department's middleman, and then sell it to the foreigners who come to buy our produce," he added.
A few years back, the Department of Sericulture was only focusing on the production of mulberry leaves for increasing cocoon production in the valley, but with special schemes introduced by the Central government, the authorities are now taking an initiative to increase the production of mulberry fruit also.
Khurshid Ahmad, the farm manager at the mulberry station said, "Earlier we were working especially to increase the leaf production aimed to boost cocoon production but for the last few years, we are also focusing on the fruit crops which resulted in an increase in production every year."
"Last year the production of this nursery was seven to eight quintals, but this year it will go up to 12 quintals due to moderate weather conditions," he added.
The mulberry fruit is good for health and is, therefore, high in demand in the country, which has motivated the growers to show a keen interest in its production. Mulberry farming has also created a source of employment for a number of people in the valley, and the increased production encouraged the young entrepreneurs, including one foreigner, to establish small units of jam and juice.
Chris Zandi, a foreign entrepreneur said, "Our intent is to connect the farmer with the end consumers. To make that journey as short as possible, the quality is preserved in the fruits, and the market rate is kept as low as possible."
"We try to develop products to promote the crop production from Kashmir," he added.
The growers are following all the Covid guidelines, including wearing masks and maintaining social distancing during harvesting of crops, to protect themselves from any kind of infection. (ANI)