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Production of Gurez's heritage crop, Kala Zeera, on decline

Premature harvesting reason for low yield, SKUAST (K) researching to address problem: Expert

Post by on Sunday, July 17, 2022

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Bandipora, July 16: The production of Gurez's heritage crop, Kala Zeera (Cumin), has shown a sharp decline in the past few years.
Experts say that the decline in the yield is due to premature harvesting it, but the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) Kashmir is at the forefront of reviving and increasing the production of this heritage crop. 
“There is a sharp decline in the crop yield as farmers here harvest it prematurely,” Bilal Ahmad, Assistant Professor of, told the Rising Kashmir.
Bilal, who is also incharge of University's station in Izmarg village in Gurez, however said that the varsity has started an awareness campaign across the valley to educate people about the ill-effects of early harvesting.
“The crop should be harvested at full maturity stage. This what people need to understand,” he said
He said that university has also domesticated the crop because of having micro-climatic suitability for its cultivation in the Gurez valley. 
“To domesticate Black Cumin, the tubers of the crop were collected from the traditional villages of Gurez and germ plasm bank was established in collaboration with National mission on Himalayan studies in the station to analyse it's nutrition profiling and desirable characteristics,” he added.
“Subsequently, some lines were chosen and were distributed to farmers,” he added. 
Bilal said that three villages were identified and thirty trials were conducted which yielded goods results and farmers were very satisfied with this.
The varsity is mulling to domesticate this crop in more villages this year to improve the socio-economic condition of the farmers here as there is a huge demand for this crop in the market.
Though the marketing channels for this crop are limited, SKUAST (K) is considering linking it up with national and international markets so that farmers of the valley get maximum benefit, Bilal added. 

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