By Mushtaq Bhat
Pulwama, July, 31, An enthusiastic woman from Southern Kashmir’s Pulwama district is emerging as a role model for potential women entrepreneurs of the valley, with her success of running a dairy farm.
Named Shahzada, the 26-year-old woman from Mitrigam village of the district set up the cow farm some five years ago with the assistance of Rural Development Department, by taking advantage of a Self-Help Group (SHG) scheme.
“I have a totally different perspective about the state of unemployment now. I feel like I started the dairy farm with a single cow, young people who are searching for employment can also start their own venture and work for its success, which will be only theirs at the end of the day,” Shahzada said.
She has successfully run the dairy farm while the number of cows in her dairy farm has increased with over 20 cows. On an average, 300 litters of milk are produced on a daily-basis and transported to all the four districts of south Kashmir and even the capital city of Srinagar.
“I studied up to Class 8th only but couldn’t continue further. However, I have learnt to keep track of the accounts and have been successfully maintaining all records. I mean, you learn things as you work,” Shahzada adds.
With high on hopes, the woman entrepreneur now wants to lay her hands on a cheese-making equipment, so as to diversify her business on the one hand and fight the ill-effects of pandemic on the other hand.
She, however, says that it needs a lot of support from the family, relatives and friends, especially when it is a female entrepreneur. “If people are supportive, things become easier,” she expresses.
While asking for help from the Department of Animal and Sheep Husbandry, she says that there are loopholes in allocation of subsidies and other related schemes. “Officials of the department need to bring in more transparency and accountability in this connection,” she goes on to say.
It is pertinent to mention here that official figures for the year 2020 show that Pulwama produced 31 crore litres of milk, which was supplied across J-K, and in 2017-18, it produced 28.04 crore litres. Every day, 8.5 lakh litres of milk is produced in the south Kashmir district.
The abundance not only motivated entrepreneurs to set up dairy farms but consequent processing units as well with the district having five large milk plants on the cards, slated to come up in a decade.