Girls in South Kashmir’s Pulwama have started thinking beyond government jobs and traditional roles of home makers. They are proving their mettle in different fields which were earlier thought as exclusively male oriented.
These days a number of young girls in this southern district are leading in various professions by setting an example for others to follow. Be it trout farming, commercial floriculture or cultivation of aromatic and medicinal plants.
Rukhsaana Rashid and Nusrat Majeed are two such young girls who have turned backyard farming into successful entrepreneurship.
Rukhsaana, a school dropout, is a resident of Newa village around five kilometers from district headquarters. She is a successful nursery farmer earning a decent income. “Each season we earn more than rupees 3 lakh from nursery farming,” She said, adding that this is quite easy and suitable for females.
“This is a profession where you don’t need to look for customers; they come to you for flowers,” She said, adding that it only needs hard work.
Rukhsaana gets orders for nursery flowers from various areas of Srinagar, Baramulla and Anantnag. She also delivers her order through her brother who has set up a shop of vase flower plants in Pulwama market.
This young entrepreneur has converted her four kanals of courtyard into a nursery, growing different varieties of flowering and ornamental plants including rose, carnation, palm and lilium, some in open and some under poly house. She is helped by her mother and grandmother.
“All you need is to invest for purchase of seeds, corms or seedlings,” she said, adding that some seeds are given free to them by Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine Bonora, a field station of CISR Jammu.
She added that the department of floriculture is also hand-holding the entrepreneurs. “They provided financial assistance in the form of a subsidy which covers half of the investment amount,” she said.
Nusrat, who belongs to Gudoora village in the neighbourhood of Pulwama town, suggested other girls to take up this as a profession.
She grows ornamental plant seedlings in her nursery spread over four kanals of land.
This backyard nursery farmer has set up a shop, Nusrat Florist Shop, in front of her two storied house for sale of different seedlings.
“Initially, I was uncertain about how it will perform but now I am in this business for more than two years and it has been paying good dividends for me,” she said, adding that she is quite satisfied with her job.
“The nursery farming is profitable; there is a good scope in this business. It can address the challenge of growing unemployment among youth in Kashmir,” she said.
Nusrat drew inspiration from her sisters who were in this profession already.
Mazhar Ansari, District Floriculture Officer Pulwama appreciated the female nursery farmers for their hard work.
"They work with dedication and commitment. One of the female nursery farmers bagged first prize in a recently held flower exhibition at Botanical Garden Srinagar," he said, adding this is a good trend that girls are taking interest in farming.