Umaisar Gull Ganie
Kulgam, Oct 30: In a groundbreaking achievement, a youth from south Kashmir’s Kulgam district has introduced Persimmon – a sweet, orange-coloured fruit native to China, to the local area.
The Diospyros kaki, more commonly referred to as Persimmon boasts a rich history with its roots dating back over 2,000 years to China. Today, China, Japan and South Korea have become the primary cultivators and top producers of this delectable fruit, solidifying its significance in East Asian agriculture. Persimmon is the national fruit of Japan.
Shabbir Ahmad Itoo, hailing from the Sonigam area of Kulgam, with a diverse educational background spanning from a Bachelor of Arts to a Master of Philosophy, and holding a State Eligibility Test certification, has embarked on the unique endeavour of cultivating non-native Persimmon in the region.
Itoo expressed his enthusiasm, saying, “We have introduced a new fruit here, known as Persimmon or Japan fruit. My father obtained it from Himachal Pradesh, and we nurtured it at home. Today, after two years of diligent efforts, we are witnessing a bumper crop.”
One notable feature of this fruit is its minimal care requirements, with fewer pesticides needed compared to traditional apple orchards. Persimmon offers excellent medicinal value and is a good source of potassium, phosphorous, and vitamin C. It is particularly beneficial for expectant mothers and is believed to promote blood circulation while also aiding in managing joint pains.
Elaborating on the cultivation process, Shabbir said, “We initially sowed seeds and sought guidance from experts who also provided grafting sticks. After two years of dedicated work, our Persimmon trees are now bearing fruit. These plants grow to a substantial size, similar to apple trees.”
Persimmon also holds a promising market value. While the fruit is relatively new in Kashmir, discussions with buyers in Delhi have been fruitful. One kilogram of Persimmons sells for more than a hundred rupees, making it an attractive venture for local farmers.
Encouraging others, Itoo said, “I urge people to acquire nursery plants and begin cultivating this fruit to earn a decent income. Persimmon has the potential to become a significant addition to the region’s agriculture.”