English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

From policing to organic farming: Mukhtar’s success story

organic farming

Syed Mukhtar Ahmad was born in Dedikoot village, 8 Kms from Kupwara. His father Syed Mohammad Muzaffar was a farmer and lived in a joint family with four brothers where agriculture, rearing livestock and firewood collection from forest was an essential part of life. Mukhtar was born on 01 Jan 1962, and he has two sisters. His village Dedikoot was the seat of a feudal ruler in the past and hence the name ‘koot’ is derived from kot meaning a fort or the seat of authority.

During his childhood, agriculture was the main occupation. Young Mukhtar and his elders worked in paddy fields and orchards, because of which he developed liking towards agriculture, floriculture and horticulture. After schooling, he enrolled with the JK Police in 1982 and was posted to the crime interrogation cell at Srinagar. Later he learnt how to handle wireless transmission and worked in Police Control Room, Kupwara.

During his years in the Crime Cell and in other branches of the police, he witnessed the rise and fall of militancy in J&K closely. He always felt that social upliftment is one of the means to bring peace and prosperity in the region. After serving for 25 years in the police, he decided to pursue his dream and took voluntary retirement in 2006 as Head Constable. He started a nursery in year 2007 near his home in Dedikoot and began devoting time to imbibe modern ways of farming.

He began attending classes/workshops at various agricultural universities across India—Punjab Agriculture University at Ludhiana, Institute of Agriculture research under Banaras Hindu University, University of Rajasthan at Jaipur and others. He attended training at Indian Council of Agriculture Research, New Delhi from 2009 to 2015 for two months each year. He chose the most traditional job to serve the society. He initially focused on apiculture, and started with five honeybee colonies.

At present he has 150 beehive colonies and produces 40 quintals of honey per year, consumers of his honey include the Director General of Police J&K, Inspector General of Police Kashmir, Deputy commissioner and other administrative staff of Distt Kupwara, top officials of Central Armed Police Forces and Army along with locals. He also has a nursery where he grows seedlings of organic vegetables. His seedlings vary from seasonal vegetables in summer months to some rare species available in India—American blackberry, Italian cashewnut etc.

He conducted experiments on organic insecticides and pesticides and has given two types of organic insecticides and pesticides to SKUAST University Jammu, as his own researched prototypes. He has grafted various varieties of apples, cherry, kiwi, avocado, fig, pears and other fruits to bring productive varieties of these. Ahmad says there are a total of 5,500 varieties of medicinal plants in J&K and has knowledge of a wild plant which is helpful in curing cancer.

This grows naturally in the nearby forest and its seedlings can be grown in a flower pot. He is researching other medicinal plants of the area and doing experiments on their uses. His work has provided job opportunities to a large number of youth from the area. The job includes work in nurseries, sale of plants, collection, processing and packaging of honey etc. He has trained boys who provide service at doorsteps for cultivation of these plants and flowers.

Each year he trains more than 100 families about organic farming. He provides seedlings free of cost to those who cannot afford them. His aim is to teach the importance of organic farming to each household in the area. In his words “A country cannot become a super power unless it is not self-sufficient in food supplies”. His work is been appreciated widely and he is a known face in almost all the villages of Kupwara. This year due to the lockdown he could not prepare a full size nursery but the demand remains high.

He is satisfied to know that people are accepting his work and following his advice. His family provides complete support to him and his children, sons and daughters, have completed their graduation. Only a few people have the grit and determination to transform their vision into reality and Syed Mukhtar Ahmad is one such person. He is an inspiration to the Kashmiris bu virtue of his meaningful life and giving back to society. It’s his dream to benefit as many people in his life as is possible.