Ramban, Feb 5: From selling dry fruits in a small shop and struggling to meet his family's needs to running a dairy farm that sells around 200 litres of milk per day, Manzoor Ahmed from Jammu and Kashmir's Ramban district has come a long way as an entrepreneur.
Ahmed, who only studied up to Class 12 and comes from an agricultural background, always wanted to start his own dairy farm and was able to fulfil his dream with guidance from the Animal Husbandry Department, Ramban.
"I had a small dry fruit shop but that was not enough to meet my family's needs. After seeking guidance from the Animal Husbandry Department, I decided to start a dairy farm unit," said Ahmed.
He said the department ensured that he got the benefits of dairy farming schemes and offered him guidance on scientific lines to manage his dairy farm.
Ahmed started his dairy farm in Bankoot, Banihal with four cows. Later, the Animal Husbandry Department sanctioned four units of 20 cows for his farm under the Integrated Dairy Development Scheme (IDDS). He bought the cattle from Punjab, according to officials.
"Adding hybrid cattle heads helped me double the daily milk production and my income as well," said Ahmed, who now sells around 200 litres of milk per day and records monthly sales of Rs 3 lakh with smart profits.
He has also employed four locals at his farm to help with the work and look after the cows. He also gets full support from his family in running the business.
Seeing the success of his venture, the Animal Husbandry Department has sanctioned another unit of five cows for his farm.
Ahmed said he is now able to provide his family with a better life.
"I am very thankful to the government for providing me financial assistance to expand my dairy farm. Now, I have planned to upgrade my dairy and install all machines like milking machine, milk cooler, ATM milk machine and a genset," he added.
Based on his experience, Ahmed feels dairy farming can offer a promising solution to the growing unemployment.
Chief Animal Husbandry Officer (CAHO) Bharat Bhushan Raina said dairy farming requires good capital investment. For this, farmers can take loan assistance under many ongoing government schemes.
The government is promoting dairy farming and has come up with many subsidy schemes, loan schemes and other support schemes for such businesses, he said.
On the directions of Deputy Commissioner, Ramban, Mussarat Islam, the Department of Animal Husbandry, Ramban, is handholding many farmers to help them realise their dream of setting up a dairy farm under the IDDS, he said.
Raina said dairy farming is proving to be a game changer for many farmers.
Deputy Commissioner Islam said several young people are coming forward to take advantage of employment-oriented schemes, especially in agriculture and allied sectors, by taking inspiration from successful agropreneurs like Ahmed.