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Kupwara girl earns livelihood through mushroom cultivation

Becomes inspiration for others

Kupwara: At a time when women in rural areas find it difficult to become economically independent, a girl from Kandi Khass area of Kupwara has set the example for others by coming up with the organic cultivation of mushrooms, thereby earning her livelihood.

Bilqeesa Sultan after receiving training for mushroom cultivation through the Agricultural Department subsequently established her own unit at her residence this year. “I am really thankful to Dr Firdous Raina who is a scientist at KVK Kupwara.He guided me in setting up the mushroom unit. I did also get mushroom cultivation training from Nisar Ahmad who has a unit at Bramri Kupwara,” Bilqeesa told Greater Kashmir.

“After getting proper training, the Agriculture Department provided me with 100 bags of compost required for mushroom cultivation. I sowed seed in the month of March and now I harvest 2-3 kgs of crop every day. As it is a technical process so I am in constant touch with the experts, hopefully with the passage of time, I will be able to harvest more than 20kg of crops every day,” she said.

Bilqeesa added that she was attracted to mushroom cultivation as it requires minimal investment and less manpower which is an advantage for women like her  who are either studying or working. Bilqeesa who is pursuing Masters in Social Work from IGNOU drew inspiration of setting her own business very early. “I do  want to be an employer instead of working under someone. A government employee hardly manages to earn hand to mouth while as the scenario is altogether for being a businessman,” Bilqeesa told this correspondent.

“We have a wrong notion in Kashmir that a person with government employment is considered to be a competent person. We should give up the mentality of studying for monetary gains. Unless the youth of Kashmir do not come forward to start their own ventures, poverty will prevail,” she added.

“My father has really been a great support for me in establishing the unit. He provided me with financial and logistic support whenever required,” Bilqeesa said.

Bilqeesa has now become an inspiration for other women in the area. “Several women from adjoining villages come to meet me and inquire about cultivation of mushrooms,” she added.

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