Shopian farmer inspired by online video goes rooftop farming

Rashid, a well-heeled apple orchard in the area has converted the roof of its approximately 1,500 square foot garden into a terrace garden, growing a multitude of varieties of vegetables and seedlings.

According to Rashid, it all started with a YouTube video one fine evening in 2017.

“My son showed me a video in which I saw how people in land-scarce areas get into terrace farming,” says Rashid.

Although Rashid owns enough land, he was tempted to farm on the terrace while watching the video.

“I started by growing conventional varieties of vegetables,” he says.

He said he used organic fertilizers and the yield had baffled him.

“It was a lot higher than I expected.”

The following year, Rashid followed the advice of the Ministry of Agriculture and cultivated both conventional and exotic varieties of different vegetables using vermicompost.

“Today, I grow up to 30 varieties of different vegetables and plants on my roof,” Rashid said.

Cherry tomatoes, broccoli, brinjal and many other varieties of vegetables could be seen arranged in different vertical rows on the roof of Rashid.

Terraced cultivation brings in Rashid Rs 10,000 to Rs15,000 per month.

“I sold around 100kg of cherry tomatoes and 80-90kg of broccoli this year,” Rashid said.

This year, Rashid has introduced sweet corn and kiwi seedlings and expects a good harvest.

Rashid said he doesn’t have to go to the market to sell his products because consumers themselves buy them on his roof.

“As soon as the vegetables are ready to be harvested, consumers come to my house,” Rashid said.

He said rooftop farming was an easy and cheap type of farming.

“You can use empty pots, pots or even egg trays to grow the vegetables,” Rashid said.

He said that people living in cities where farmland was not available could turn to this type of agriculture.

Satish Sharma, Agriculture Manager at Shopian, said it was a successful farmer experience.

“All the varieties are purely organic,” he said.

He adds that the department provides him with seeds and all technical advice.

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