Srinagar: A mushroom grower from Tangmarg has been selected for the prestigious Progressive Farmer Award for his outstanding contribution to the agro-farming industry.
Twenty- eight- year-old Gowhar Ali Lone from Khoechipora, Tangmarg, popularly known as “Mushroom King of Kashmir” will be felicitated during Mushroom Mela on September 10 at ICAR, Directorate of Mushroom Research(DMR) Solan Himachal Prardesh.
Lone, who previously received numerous awards and appreciations for promoting and growing mushrooms on a large scale from the Jammu and Kashmir government, will be the first farmer from the valley to receive the prestigious national award.
“The award is a big honor for me. I have been chosen to promote and commercialize mushroom farming in Jammu and Kashmir. I am excited to receive this award,” he said.
Gowhar so far has received six awards at the state level and a national award for promoting and revolutionising mushroom cultivation in Jammu and Kashmir.
“My name has featured in Awam Ki Baat. I also set up stalls during the G20 event. This year, six persons will receive the award and I am one among them,” he said.
Gowhar, who is considered one of the most successful agri-preneurs in Jammu and Kashmir, runs a 500-tray mushroom operation out of a single room in his house.
Gowhar said he initially started cultivating the mushroom in a 20 by 40 feet space with 70 trays, a few years back.
Now, Gowhar’s production of mushrooms has increased to 30 quintals with 500 trays in the same space. The bi-annual crop fetches him around Rs 6 lakh.
“Initially I was given 23 trays by the department of agriculture. Later I added 70 more trays to make it to 100. Now I grow mushrooms in 500 trays, which sums my produce to 30 quintals. Apart from mushrooms, I also sell readymade compost to the department, which also fetches me suitable money,” he said.
Gohar’s innovative practices include the utilization of modern technologies for controlled environment farming, the development of organic fertilizers, and the implementation of efficient waste management systems.
After venturing into mushroom cultivation, he has also earned fame in integrated farming. “I have also started integrated farming which includes sheep, dairy, and poultry farming. I also practice vertical farming of multiple varieties of vegetables. Simultaneously, I am also imparting training among farmers to practice new methods of farming,” he said.