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Modern farming experiments by Er. Ahmad Ali’s story, a progressive farmer from Kargil | C.O.T.E

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Modern farming experiments by Er. Ahmad Ali’s story, a progressive farmer from Kargil

The lives of farmers in Ladakh are changing because to Er. Ahmad Ali from Kanoor, who turned down a job offer as an assistant professor to become a farmer. By implementing innovative agricultural practises including mulching, drip irrigation, and hydroponics, Ahmad Ali is giving farmers optimism that their crop production would increase even in regions with a lack of irrigation water.

Speaking to the Voice of Ladakh correspondent, Er Ahmad Ali urged farmers to organise into clusters, use new methods, and use cutting-edge technology to increase their output.
Agriculture and farm development are fundamental to human existence. However, the districts of Leh and Kargil are currently abandoning agriculture, which is forcing imports of even the tiniest items, according to Ahmad Ali.

Ahmad Ali was concerned about how dependent and importunate remote regions like Ladakh were on the outside world. How long would we be dependent on and import from elsewhere? The farmer was troubled by the query. Ahmad Ali stated, “I always had the goal to make Ladakh self-sustaining. Due to the lack of agricultural technology and drip irrigation in Ladakh, he pursued a B. Tech with a major in agriculture. His interest in this area grew gradually, and he sought an M. Tech. in soil and water conservation, finishing it during the COVID-19 pandemic. He arrived home during the pandemic and discovered himself alone.

“I attempted to do something different and used this seclusion as an opportunity. My field of study and expertise was hydroponics, which I pursued at home using resources that were easily accessible. I just so happened to show up for a job interview at a university for an assistant professor position. The interviewer talked about my interests and time spent during the pandemic during a brief intermission. They were impressed by my work and picked me for the position of assistant professor after hearing about my hydroponic experiments, which I described to them.

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“Their praise and encouragement gave me more self-assurance and motivated me to spread the idea throughout all of Ladakh. As a result, I made the decision not to accept the assistant professor position, according to Ahmad Ali, who prefers to be referred to as a farmer rather than an engineer.

When Ahmad Ali first began farming, the townspeople and family members had never heard of mulching. The failure of the new attempt worried the family members as well. “Despite this, the family member encouraged me to continue the experiment and gave me their blessing. Ahmad Ali stated, “Right now, I have 12 to 13 thousand nursery plants that some people could consider idiocy but my parents supported. Second, his colleagues at the Baseej-e-Zaraat wa Baghbani, the agricultural division of the Imam Khomeini Memorial Trust (IKMT) in Kargil, mentored and taught him. In particular, he cited Mr. Mohd Ali, Mr. Shabbir Hussain Fayaz, and Haji Mohammad, “whose experience and teamwork gave me a lot of lessons.”

In the beginning, Er Ahmad Ali founded the Ladakh Organic and Green Initiative Consultancy (LOGIC), which offers advice on cutting-edge farming methods like micro-irrigation, drip irrigation, protected growing, and hydroponics.

He gradually formed the Rangyul Organic Producer Company Limited (ROPCL), a farmers’ produce organisation that creates a cluster of farmers to supply national and worldwide markets for their produce, in Baseej-e-Zaraat in collaboration with like-minded individuals. It serves as a link between agricultural organisations and farmers. More than 140 farmers are currently affiliated with the ROPCL.

The Baseej-e-Zaraat wa Baghbani, which functions as an umbrella group for many agencies and organisations, coordinates between them and speaks on their behalf to the District and Union Territory Administration at the highest level. In a very short period of a few years, our organisation established the Farmers Produce Organization, farms in various locations, entrepreneurs, and village-level farming clusters. I owe a great deal of gratitude to everyone who helped me out, notably the Agriculture Department, Krishi Vigyan Kendra – Kargil, Baseej-e-Zaraat wa Baghbani, and others.

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“We anticipate that in the future, these farms will provide benefits not only to Ladakh but also to areas outside of Ladakh. Ahmad Ali expressed the desire to make Ladakh sustainable. Ahmed Ali responded that drip irrigation is uncomplicated and requires no work when asked about the differences between irrigation using canal water and drip irrigation. Second, irrigation with canal water collects water all around the plant, which is bad for the plant and also contradicts the advice of elders. The air in the roots is released by the accumulated water, suffocating the plant and causing it to perish.

Additionally, this serves as a lesson for visitors to my farm on this specific kind of drip watering.

Ahmad Ali said that he and his colleagues also perform agricultural research when asked about their other endeavours. This year, they concentrated on floriculture with high yield. The UT Administration’s IHBT objective is to introduce floriculture to Ladakh. They have therefore grown flowers in various locations while working closely with the administration. Previously, we shipped a sizable shipment to Delhi, but these gladiolus flowers are now popular in our neighbourhood market. We want to spread floral culture among the locals because of this. He claimed that since the population is growing and there is less land available, agriculture is becoming less and less popular among the residents. As a result, we must consider irrigation of the dry land close to our villages; he insisted that “area extension should be on priority.”

Additionally, cluster formation is required due to the abundance of expensive machines, such as dryers, quick cooling devices, and high-pressure processors, that we discovered throughout our exploration. A modest farmer can hardly afford it. A cluster would therefore aid in obtaining these devices. On a sizable cluster, the government could also easily make purchases that would be advantageous to the public and simple for the government. When asked about his opinions and message to the farming community, engineer Ahmed Ali replied that it is falsely assumed and presented that farmers are poor and oppressed. Farmers are portrayed as being impoverished and helpless in both public and popular culture, such as movies.

“Farmers ought to be proud and respectable. I like being referred to as a farmer rather than an engineer. Your daily meals are provided for you by a farmer. It is also thanks to a farmer that you are still alive. I view this as a respectable and long-lasting vocation.

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