Agri-Business still unexplored sector in Kashmir
Owais Bashir Janwari, Managing Director of Wular Group of Companies which runs several businesses in Kashmir believes that the agriculture sector has huge potential which needs to be tapped to create employment opportunities in the Kashmir division.
Owais has done BBA-LLB from Symbiosis; currently he is managing a pesticide, fertilizer distribution firm and food manufacturing factory run under the banner of Wular group of companies.
Having helmed the business in Kashmir for over a decade, Owais is a firm believer in hard work and dedication. He says he has been fascinated towards entrepreneurship since childhood.
“My father was a businessman. I had no other ambition in life than to run a business enterprise. I ventured into the family business of pesticide, fertilizer distribution, later I expanded it and have started logistics, warehousing services for pesticide, fertilizer manufacturing companies, and besides it I am also running a food factory in Industrial Estate Khonmoh.”
“Change is the law of nature, an entrepreneur should not get bogged down by difficulties and keep on adapting to new things in life. I started from a pesticide distribution business, later I have added logistics, warehousing for companies who sell agricultural products in Kashmir. We provide fertilizer, pesticide companies, and lab testing facilities etc which are required by them as per the law."
Apart from this I am running a food manufacturing factory which is fully mechanized. 95 percent of the bakery items in Kashmir are hand-made; we have introduced a fully mechanized factory where from start to manufacturing all the production work is being carried out by machines.”
Owais plans to introduce a few more products by next year, he says that lockdowns in the last two years have hit his business badly. “But I have overcome and nowI am running my food unit in full capacity. We are planning to open our own retail outlets in Srinagar and other districts of Kashmir.”
On being asked about the scope of business in Kashmir, Owais says that the agriculture, horticulture sector has tremendous scope for growth in Kashmir. “Our environment makes this place perfect for the farm sector. Unfortunately our youth are not finding agri business lucrative, they prefer other sectors. I have also believed that these sectors have huge potential and generate employment opportunities in Kashmir. For other sectors of economic activity we are heavily dependent on outside supplies for raw material, but in the agribusiness or horticulture sector everything is available within Kashmir. It is also proven that where the raw material is easily accessible that sector will thrive. I believe that agribusiness in Kashmir has a huge potential and it is still an untapped sector.”
You are also into the food sector where a lot of young entrepreneurs are venturing. Any advice for them?
“Food sector too has a huge potential but what we are seeing is that many youth without any research are venturing into this sector. As a result of which we see many units being shut within two years of their starting of operations. It should not happen, there is need to do proper research, infact I would suggest to youngsters that before venturing into any field, they should work on ground to face hard realities. Another aspect which I would like to discuss here is that many of our young entrepreneurs believe that only capital for investment is required to run the operations, but they are not aware that working capital is must to run your business successfully."
Any advice for young entrepreneurs? Owais says that one should have passion towards the work. “Failures are part and parcel of life, similarly in entrepreneurship we should not get bogged down by failures; they are the step stones towards success. Besides this, passion for work is the key to keep you motivated to work hard and achieve the goals."