Communal Comity| A Hindu and a Muslim friend spread hope with ‘brotherhood dairy’
Shopian: A Kashmiri Pandit, Shubam Bhat and a Kashmiri Muslim, Muhammad Rafiq Malik have come together to set up a dairy farm in Choudhrigund village, 4 km from south Kashmir’s Shopian township.
“We set up this dairy farm in 2020 and within a year have been able to reap rich dividends,” Bhat says, talking about his newly-started venture.
Bhat, a diploma holder in Radiology, says that one fine day in 2020 he and his friend, Malik gave a serious thought to the dairy business and within a few weeks set up the farm.
The duo started with seven Holstein Friesians cows, the world’s highest-production dairy animals. Today they own 32 of these dairy cows.
“Before we switched to dairy farming, we did good market research,” Bhat says.
He says that the adulterated milk available in the market spurred the duo to opt for dairy farming.
“Our main aim behind setting up this dairy was to provide the consumers pure and fresh farm milk,” Bhat says.
He says that every day they sell between 200 to 250 litre milk, which fetches them a good amount.
“We milk our cows twice a day and the production is as per our expectations,” Bhat says.
According to Bhat, they do not need to sell their produce in the open market as the consumers show up at their farm and buy it there only.
Scores of villages around Choudrigund form the solid consumer base for the duo.
The dairy entrepreneurs say that the Department of Animal Husbandry provided them assistance in setting up the farm.
“We were provided a subsidy by the department for buying the cows,” they say.
Chief Animal Husbandry Officer, Shopian, Dr Ishrat says that the dairy farming got a boost after the government rolled out different schemes for the people interested in setting up dairy units.
According to the official, under the Integrated Dairy Development scheme, a beneficiary is provided five cows with a subsidy of Rs 1.75 lakh.
“Five cows make one unit and a single beneficiary can set up as many as 10 units,” he says.
In recent years, many young and educated entrepreneurs in south Kashmir’s Shopian and Pulwama districts have taken to dairy farming.
Integrated farming is the latest buzz among the farmers.
Bhat says that though there is a cutthroat competition in the dairy business, one could thrive and survive in the market by not compromising on quality.