With growing awareness about the harmful effects of pesticides in vegetables and fruits, the demand for organic products has grown in Gurgaon over the last few years. With this in mind, the horticulture department is launching an organic farming unit near Garethpur Bass village area on October 2, where residents can grow organic vegetables on a patch of land that they can get on lease from the horticulture department.
Pure, unadulterated vegetables are rarely found in a city of concrete. However, the city residents have come up with a WhatsApp group, created last week, to discuss the process and challenges of organic farming in the city.
Rajeev Ahuja, a member of the organic farming WhatsApp group said, “Knowing more about the food we eat is important. This programme is solving the problem as we now know how the vegetables and fruits we are consuming are being grown.”
Another member of the group, Parul Suneja of Sector 52, said, “We share thoughts and articles about organic products in the group. Residents discuss their problems related to growing vegetables and we share ideas to deal with the issues. People participate and feel connected with nature and earth.”
As the idea of organic farming is taking hold of city residents, around 60 of them have already approached the horticulture department about organic farming. “Till now, 35 people have enrolled for membership of the plots and we have started the first phase on five acres of land which will be formally inaugurated on October 2. The second phase of the project will start on October 10,” Deen Mohammad Khan, district horticulture officer, said.
The programme is currently running on a membership basis at a charge of Rs. 3,879 per month per unit, which is 600 square yards. Keeping in mind the urban lifestyle, workers are also provided by the department to look after the maintenance and security of the crops.
A refundable security fee of Rs. 5,000 per unit is also charged from the residents. “People can lease up to a maximum of two plots. As vegetables are grown seasonally, each unit will be leased for six months,” Khan said.
The yield per unit will be sufficient for one family, the department claimed. “Residents will be able to produce 2,500 kg of potato or 1,500 kg of onions in one season from each unit. Though the yield of organic vegetables is less, they are healthy and residents can be sure of the quality of the vegetables as well,” Khan said.
Under the programme, a delivery van will also collect fresh vegetables and deliver them to residents, horticulture officials said.