Srinagar, June 23: A 28-year-old Kashmiri Pandit boy from south Kashmirâ€™s Shopian district has set up a dairy farm unit, which has not only generated profit but also hope for his family. He said dairy farming has potential to generate profit and employment.
Shubham Bhatt from Shopian has set up the dairy farm following the increasing demand of milk in the valley over the years.
Hailing from Chowdrigund village of Shopian, Bhatt completed his basic education at his village and went to Dehradun Uttarakhand to pursue his bachelors.
"I had already decided to go into the business line. After completing my graduation, I decided to conduct proper market research regarding some trades which I admired," he said.
Bhatt said after some time, he found that dairy farming has the potential to generate a good profit and employment.
Shubham said there is demand for milk consumption each day. It took him several months to conduct a market survey.
Son of a government teacher, Bhatt said it was difficult for him to convince his family before setting up the dairy farm.
â€œThere are taboos in our society regarding rearing cows. We should encourage youth to invest in the dairy sector as there are many opportunities in it,â€ he said.
"Many people want to commence this business, but due to lack of knowledge and market awareness they hesitate to put their feet up," Bhatt said.
â€œIt has been more than one and half since I started my dairy business. I am satisfied with dairy farming. It is a lucrative business choice nowadays," he said.
Bhatt said it is an eco-friendly business and could be commenced in all seasons. It is one of the best entrepreneurship and employment generation options for youth.
"Presently I have four permanent employees while rest 3-4 work on a casual basis," he said.
Bhatt said a dairy farming business plan includes a good dairy breed selection as it helps in successful dairy farming.
â€œAfter proper market research, I came to know that there was a good potential of setting up the dairy unit. So, I invested approximately 30 lakh to purchase the livestock and constructed the unit in 2020," he said.
The land where the farm is located belongs to his family. His unit produces 230-250 liters of milk each day.
In more than one year, the livestock have increased to 30. â€œIt is a good and promising business in Kashmir,â€ Bhatt said.
He said the dairy farming business is a traditional business in Kashmir.
â€œThere is no need to worry about marketing milk products. We can easily sell our product in almost every part. The dairy products market is active round the year,â€ he said.
While Covid-19 did cause some harm to the milk business, still Shubhamâ€™s farm did not stop producing milk even in the pandemic.
Now Bhatt aims to further expand his business to other areas of Shopian district.
"There is no dearth of green fodder in Kashmir. The Holstein Friesian (HF) breed of Switzerland is most suitable in Kashmir as they live in the same atmosphere,â€ he said.
Bhatt said 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 and hygiene of your animals and quality of milk," he said.
â€œWe focus on quality. Each day customers from nearby areas come and use our farm's milk," he said.
Bhatt said youth should not run after the government. Instead they should plan to go for their own business ventures which would be with them forever.
Apart from the dairy farm, he has also started the Vermicompost (vermi-compost) unit, where cow-dung coming from his dairy farms is converted into organic fertilizer.
"I started the unit this year. It also has good demand in the market. Mostly people from nearby areas purchase it from us,â€ he said.
Bhatt says by using organic fertilizers, the fertility of soil will improve as will the availability of chemical-free fertilizers.
He also said that people have forgotten the rearing of cattle which he called very unfortunate.