Pioneering Persimmon: Fostering Achievement in Kashmir's Orchard
Pioneering Persimmon: Fostering Achievement in Kashmir's Orchard

After setting out on a trip six years earlier in the scenic valleys of Kashmir, Ghulam Ahmad Itoo would plant the seeds of an extraordinary revolution.
On his journey, he came upon a little persimmon orchard in the verdant Himachal Pradesh orchards, which would permanently alter the path of his life. He was curious to learn more about the little fruit that resembled a tomato since it piqued his interest.

In the next few days, Itoo looked for seasoned growers and learned a great deal about this recently discovered treasure.
Itoo didn’t spend any time testing his newly acquired knowledge after arriving back home. In Sonigam village, a peaceful area located barely 4 kilometers from the busy metropolis of Kulgam in South Kashmir, he brought back persimmon seeds and seedlings. He had no idea that the outcome of this experiment would be abundant and would change his community’s life as well as the surrounding environment. Shabir Ahmad, Itoo’s son, said triumphantly and optimistically that “the experiment worked.”


This year, the family collected an abundance of persimmons, as the trees started to give fruit almost four years later.
Before being brought to Japan and Korea, the fruit was originally from China. These three countries are the leading fruit growers. India’s Himachal Pradesh, Assam, and Nilgiri Hills are the growing regions for the fruit, which is locally called Amlok or Japanese phal. Along with being high in potassium, manganese, and vitamins A, C, and B, the fruit is a powerhouse of antioxidants.

Ahmad said, “Within four years, the trees reach the fruit-bearing stage.”
Ahmad says growing persimmon trees doesn’t need constant applications of artificial fertilizers, insecticides, or pesticides as growing apples does.
“No pesticides are used by us. He said, “This agricultural practice is unquestionably organic.

“Relative yields between persimmon and apple trees are noticeably higher.”
Prickly pear-like persimmon trees may reach heights of more than twelve feet. September to October are when the fruit is often picked. Hachiya and Fuyu are two essential points of the persimmons.

Ahmad said that while Fuyu is a non-astringent type, Hachiya is an astringent kind.
According to him, growing persimmons might provide substantial financial benefits.
He received Rs 700 for a package of 6 kilograms of persimmons last year. A kilogram of fruit costs between Rs 100 and Rs 120 from the neighborhood street sellers.
The goods might fetch even greater prices in outstation mandis.

Several of the plants in his little orchard produced more than 1800 kg of fruit this year, he said, earning him more than Rs 2 lakh.
He said, “Input costs are low and yield is higher in persimmon cultivation.”

According to Ahmad, increased input prices are driving up the cost of agriculture, including apple crops.
It is recommended that farmers use contemporary technologies, try novel crops, and follow a progressive agricultural approach. In terms of learning about growing new crops, the internet may be a really useful resource, he said.

The Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Sciences (SKUAST) and the Department of Agriculture and Horticulture, he added, may also be of assistance to the farmers.
Spread over one kanal of land in his hometown, Ahmad has also grown a persimmon nursery. Four thousand persimmon plants are kept at the nursery.

Ahmad wants to sell the plant material starting on November 15.
His goal last year was to encourage his neighbors to start growing persimmons by giving them hundreds of free plants.
“Learning to grow persimmons could help one make a good living,” Ahmad added.



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