Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Kashmiri Floriculture Exports Promoted by a Punjab Based Business Group

A public-private partnership provides a win-win situation for valley florists

Floriculture Department Ropes in Beauscape Farms

Abrar Lone (Rising Kashmir)

Srinagar: The Valley florists at last have something to cheer about as Beauscape Farms – a Punjab based flower and vegetable exporter shall procure the flower produce of Kashmir growers. The firm has been roped in by the department of Floriculture, to provide marketing support to flower growers who were badly hit due Amaranth land row last year and global recession this year.

Director Floriculture, Dr. G S Naqash is happy about the development and appreciated Beauscape Farms for starting dealings with the Valley growers.
“We have studied their model and are serious in entering into dealings with the firm. This is for the benefit of the growers who should get their money on time,” Naqash said while introducing the firm to the valley based growers in the department premises here.

“We will provide technical assistance to the growers under technology mission and in this context we had a meeting in Jammu last time in which it was decided that floriculture shall not be dependant on agriculture for inputs and other things,” the director said.

Avtar Singh the promoter of Beauscape Farms said, “We grow and export vegetable, flower seeds and plant material and have 300 growers attached with us in Karnataka and 500 in Punjab.”

“We export vegetable, flowers, seeds and agriculture material and plan to get more and more growers tied with us.”

Singh said that the firm has been in the market for 24 years now and has dealings with major companies at international level. We plan to get more and more growers tied with us from Kashmir, he said.

“Our motive is to produce best crop for export and we already have established relationships with dealers and distributors in international market and providing potential market to valley growers is no issue for us”, Singh added.
The growers admitted that they are not totally aware about the technicalities required in floriculture.

“Despite getting good produce, we incur losses due to lack of marketing support. We don’t know where to deliver our crops at the time of harvest and how to tap potential customers,” an elderly grower said.

Another grower, Zakir Hussian told Rising Kashmir that growers here tend to destroy some of the produce during harvest as they have no idea about the end use of the stuff.

“Growers are least aware about harvesting of flowers and as such tend to destroy their crop at the time of the harvest. Department should play its role in awaking the growers”, said Zakir.

Jammu and Kashmir is the only State in India that enjoys four distinct climatic conditions (temperate, Sub-tropical, Sub-temperate and cold arid) and well defined seasons which favors cultivation of varied kinds and varieties of flowers and bulbs.
Naqash however said that their job is to facilitate each and everything to the growers.

“We are being paid to provide technical support and market to growers”, he said.
Production manager Beauscape Farms, Sukhvinder Singh said, “We will provide Rs 125 per kilogram for cosmos to the growers, Rs 150 for Nasturtium, Rs 1200 for Zinnia and Rs 200 for Elysium.”

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