Under the Rural Tourism Scheme, the National Welfare Forum (an NGO) in association with Kashmir Tourism Department is training a batch of 60 girls in the techniques of processing horticulture products.
A 15-day long training course cum demonstration was held at the Banimulla village of Kulgam district where many girls showed interest to learn the craft of fruit and vegetable preservation and the various value additions that could be made to horticulture products. Several of them also enrolled.
The experts from the Horticulture Department demonstrated to the girls how to make different kinds of jams, pickles, preserves, candies, tomato products, juices etc.
Speaking on the occasion Manzoor Ahmad Wani, manager-cum-chemist of Horticulture Department of Anantnag district said that it is the high time the girls of the village learn the craft of processing of horticulture products.
He shared his experience with the participants that value addition to the harvested crops can go a long way in reducing the losses. Wani said Banimulla village had an ideal environment for cultivation of best fruit varieties like apple, peach, cherries and almonds. He said that about 25 to 40 per cent of the produced crop goes on waste due to the non-availability of cold storages.
Banimulla village has been declared as a tourist village under the Rural Tourism Scheme by Centre.
He said that if different techniques of fruit processing was used in the village then the Tourist village had the potential to emerge as one of the leading manufacturer of horticulture products of the state.
He advised the trainees to work together to bring about a change with the new techniques and available technology to attract the tourist towards this area.
Hassina Bano, one of the girls undergoing training, said that there were no opportunities for the women folk in this remote village to excel in their life.
“The coming together of NWF and Tourism department for this initiative came with the ray of hope and conducted the training programme under the scheme. All the trainees are keen to learn new things so that they could open their fruit processing units if the government extended a helping hand.”
Similar views were shared by Arif Jan, who had learnt the preparation of fruit jams and preserves. She said that her family was very excited when she prepared a pickle and jam for them and she wanted to contribute in a big way to make the tourist village a success.