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Meet Dost Mohammad Khan: The melon grower of Anantnag

Post by on Thursday, July 21, 2022

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Anantnag, June 20: Kashmir Valley produces a variety of fruits like apples, apricot, cherries, walnuts, almonds and many other. They all are natives of the valley and grow abundandtly. 
With the advent of hybrid techonology and reforms in cultivation techineques, the fruit growers are now trying their hands on new crops that aren’t native to this place. One such fruit is Melon which mostly grows in hot and humid places like Gujarat, Bangalore and Maharashtra. The watermelon, musk melons farming has proved successfull here and are being grown in the entire valley now which is relatively colder than the plains of India. 
The Kashmir valley’s horticulture and agriculture sectors are the main sources of economy for the UT of J&K which fetches around 1000 crore rupees revenue to the UT annually and growing. 
In Wantrag village located in South Kashmir's Anantnag district, a local farmer, Dost Mohammad Khan, has been involved in cultivation of melons since many years now. Khan, a retired employee from the Revenue department in Kashmir, is a full time fruit grower now who has been actively investing in experimenting melon crops at his farm. 
"Our family has been involved in fruit growing since decades but it was after my retirement I thought of experimenting on new crops, melons being my main focus. I collaborated with the agriculture Department who provided us hybrid seeds and it was under whose guidance we got a bumper crop at the end of season. There can't be any greater encouragement than seeing your hardwork bloom at the end of a season", says Dost Khan. 
As per Khan the agriculture department, since the last few years, has taken an initiative in collaboration with the local farm owners to introduce and grow genetically modified seeds of several varieties of melons, an experiment which has largely proved successful. The production of melons in the valley can keep this fruit variety available in the valley even after the season is over in the rest of India as the ripening and reaping season differs from the mainlands of India.
"My successful experiment has lured many youths in our vicinity to try melon farming and I have provided seeds to almost thirty boys here who want to create avenues of employment for themselves. In valley the melons get ready right before autumn when the season of melons is over in other states of India. It gives monopoly to the locals hence there is a good market for it in that season. I have been to several states where melons are produced but the taste of watermelons produced here in the valley is uniquely better as it is produced naturally without the help of any kind of chemicals for growth or ripening, " Khan adds. 
The production of melons fetches the grower a handsome money while there is very less or negligible cost of maintenance. There are very few growers in the valley to meet the demand but the number of growers is on rise thankfully, Khan further adds. 

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