Udhampur (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], September 4 (ANI): Several farmers in Hartyaran Panchayat of Udhampur district are now growing aloe vera instead of traditional crops to save their farms from the ravages of monkeys.
The growing monkey menace, which has reslted in serious damage to crops, has forced many in the region to abandon agriculture.
In an effort to support the farmers, who are making the switch from traditional crops, the Central Government has set up an aloe vera processing unit in Udhampur district.
"Monkeys use to attack our crops causing losses to farmers. Then I thought of growing aloe vera to protect the farm from them. Though the production is satisfactory, the only issue we were facing was of marketing. I have been informed that the government has set up a processing unit for us and now I am hopeful that we will get better profits for our produce. The Prime Minister wants development, even farmers here want development. There are 50 families who are closely watching me and may switch to aloe vera plantation if I am successful," said Keekar Singh, while speaking to ANI.
"We are growing aloe-vera due to the monkey menace. I have been working in this field for the past 4-5 years. Monkeys do not eat aloe-vera and it has medicinal properties also, which is beneficial," said Mohan Singh, another aloe vera grower.
Monkeys do not attack crops such as aloe vera, which has medicinal properties. Besides, it also fetches better returns due to the surging demand for herbs in the domestic market for manufacturing personal care products.
"We came to know that because of monkeys in the area people were not able to grow any horticulture crops and some of them even left farming. This processing unit will be set up on a large scale and would help the growers in earning more money. Their income will also increase and the target of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of doubling the farmers' income by 2022 would also be achieved," said Kamaljeet Singh Sodhi, Manager and Chemist, Horticulture Department, Udhampur.
Brij Vallav Gupta, Chief Horticulture Officer, Udhampur, speaking to ANI, said that they are encouraging people residing in the region to take up aloe vera farming without the fear of monkey attacks.
"It will fetch them huge profits," he added. (ANI)