Hajin farmers decry exclusion from Agri Dept’s seedling sales, demand transparency

BANDIPORA: Lower Block: Farmers in Lower Block Hajin have raised concerns over what they perceive as consistent exclusion from seedling sales conducted by the Agriculture Department in Sumbal. Expressing their frustration, locals lamented the lack of communication from the department, resulting in missed opportunities to enhance their agricultural activities.
Altaf Ahmad, a farmer, highlighted the issue, stating, “We never receive any information from the department whenever there is a seedling sale. We only find out after the sale has concluded.” Another local farmer alleged covert favoritism, claiming that only farmers from the upper block, nearby residents, and close relatives of department employees are informed secretly to acquire seedlings from the Sumbal kitchen garden.
The farmers are urging the agriculture department to prioritize transparency and inclusive information dissemination to ensure widespread participation in seedling cultivation. They hope that this year, the department will proactively share information well in advance with farmers during the sale of vegetable seedlings like tomatoes, chillies, capsicum, and brinjal to farmers in the Sonawari belt and adjacent areas, maximizing farmer participation.
Residents collectively call upon the Director of Agriculture to personally investigate the matter and ensure fair and equitable distribution of vegetable seedlings to farmers in Lower Block Hajin. In response, Javid Iqbal, Chief Agriculture Officer Bandipora, acknowledged the issue, stating that some open-pollinated certified seeds are being sold at their PP stores. However, due to limited supplies, they couldn’t meet the demands, leading to the privatization of seed availability, which is now managed by registered seed shops.

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