At a time when almost every educated youth in Kashmir wants to join a government job for a guaranteed pay cheque, this 30-year-old from Bandipora decided to open a dairy farm putting the taboos to rest that highly qualified people should not do any ‘odd work’.
Mir Mushtaq of Kunan village from Bandipora district after completing MPhil in Psychology from Vikramadatya University, Ujjain instead of waiting for a government job decided to choose his own niche business as he believes dairy farming will bring self-sustenance in Kashmir’s milk production.
“I always wanted to create my own identity where I can become a job creator instead of a job seeker. I always wanted to contribute to my society, rather than becoming a parasite for it,” says Mushtaq.
The decision to go for a dairy farming business by Mushtaq was taken only after research and consultation with his friends and family. The abundance of land and grass fields available in Mushtaq’s village provided to a positive edge for doing dairy business.
After working for his idea for more than one year, Mushtaq approached JKEDI for financing his project.
“Initially, I was planning to setup disposable manufacturing unit a kind of anti-polythene drive where we can replace polythene by paper carry bags but J&K Pollution Control Board (PCB) did not allotted me the non objection certificate (NOC) for the reasons, which they never explained. Therefore, I decided to go for the dairy business,” says Mushtaq.
With the help of JKEDI finances, Mshtaq established Mir Dairy Farm in 2017.
“With the help of Rs 7 lakh seed capital funding from JKEDI and Rs 3 lakh from my father, I started the dairy farm. EDI also provided me 20day training, where I got to learn many things. We also interacted with dairy farm owners of Kashmir during those days, who provided me a lot of guidance,” says Mushtaq.
Mushtaq’s Mir Dairy Farm has presently 11 cows of cross breed, all procured locally. After deducting the expenses, Mushtaq earns about Rs 50,000 monthly from his farm. He fetches good price for his milk produces. Presently he sells a lite of milk at Rs 30 from his farm.
With 11 cows, two of them presently pregnant, Mushtaq gets about 90 litres of milk on daily basis.
“We choose local cross-breed cows because they are well acclimatised with the local weather and are not prone diseases and clod climate in winters. The only difficulty, which I faced initially, was milking the cows. That I over came by bringing a milking machine. But things are now becoming easy day by day,” says Mushtaq.
With the help of two employees and support of his family, Mushtaq is able to manage his farm well. This year, he has some extra income from the farm also. “I sold the calves for Rs 2.5 lakhs and cowdung for Rs 70,000,” Mushtaq says.
“We are traditionally zamindars and have good amount of land available. This provided me an edge for such kind of a venture.”
However, he cautions that getting involved in a new business can make you really busy and in this hustle-bustle you can sometimes make wrong choices that can put monetary costs on your venture and bring financial instability. Therefore, one needs to keep that in mind.
“Running a dairy farm is not everybody’s cup of tea but with hard work and dedication one can easily handle it. Every time you have to be on your toes to keep the place clean for maintaining the health of your animals and hygiene and quality of milk. Therefore, it involves washing, cleaning the cowsheds among the other chores. Moreover you have to keep veterinary doctors ready for checkup to be cautious about different diseases,” says Mushtaq.
Mushtaq has many future plans but his immediate task at hand is to expand his farm from present 10 cows to 30 cows. For this he is building new sheds.
His only advice to the youth is that they should not run after government jobs rather they should plan to go for their own business ventures.
“Youth should plan at early so that after completion of their studies they can start it immediately without wasting time by looking for government jobs,” he says.