Kupwara: In North Kashmir’s Kupwara district scores of youth have turned to trout farming to eke out a living.
Not so popular a few years back, fish farming has become an alternative to youth who could not find jobs due to growing unemployment in J&K.
Abdul Ahad Wani (35) from Khudi Mawer in Kupwara district is an example of one such person who was searching for a job till he found an opportunity to start a trout fish farm in his neighboring village Kutlari.
“Being jobless haunted me and then one day I came across an official who informed me about financial schemes being run by the Fisheries Department for unemployed youth to make them financially independent,” Wani said. “I approached the Fisheries Department Handwara in 2014 where I was provided financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh for construction of a fish farm, besides this I was provided seed and feed worth by the department which paved the way for my success in fish rearing.”
Wani, after earning a reasonable profit from the sale of trout products, constructed two more fish farms.
He presently owns three trout rearing fish farms in a picturesque village close to the proximity of Bangus Valley on Mawer route. Wani’s fish farms get source water from Mawer stream which is believed to be the best for trout rearing.
Wani is expecting this year his trout production will be around forty quintals sale resulting in 12 lakh profit margin. “Had I not taken initiative six years back, I would have certainly been lost somewhere doing meiab jobs,” he added. Wani said that the convenient salable weight for trout is considered to be in between 300 to 350 gms and if reared properly it can gain the said weight within eight months.
Wani said that those youth who are finding it difficult to meet their both ends should come forward and take help from different government schemes. He said that moving after government jobs is a wrong notion and instead unemployed youth should start their own ventures to become economically independent.
Following the footsteps of Wani, another youth from Kutlari Mawer who happens to be an engineer by profession has started trout farming venture this year. Basit Ahmad Khan an M.Tech, after returning back to home could not find a job for himself. After several consultations with the officials of the fisheries department, he decided to go for trout fish rearing.
“My father had earlier constructed a trout fish farm in 2011 but didn’t continue work on it. Since the farm was already constructed, I decided to try my luck in trout fish farming,” Basit told Greater Kashmir.
“Since it is my first year in this business, I am optimistic about a considerably good profit,” he said adding that that he is thankful to the fisheries department officials who persuaded him to go for fish rearing.
“Initially I was not very enthusiastic about it but now I am planning to take trout fish rearing as a career option. I would be expanding my farm further in the near future to draw more quantity,” he added.
“Since trout fish is liked by all so the demand remains always on the higher side but still many people are not in trout fish farming. There is much scope in trout fish farming,” a much satisfied Basit said. Inspector Fisheries Circle Handwara, Nazir Ahmad Lone said that it is satisfying that more and more educated unemployed youth are taking trout fish farming as a career alternative.
He said that in Handwara Fisheries Circle at least seventeen private trout and carp fish farms are being run by locals in different areas including Kutlari, Lawoosa and Monbal.
“A trout fish farm should be in close proximity of purest flowing water with only 5 marlas of land needed. A farmer having a single trout rearing farm can easily earn up to six lakh rupees annually.”