Srinagar: With over 3000 poultry farms in valley, chicken meat production is emerging as a potential entrepreneurial enterprise among the employment-seeking educated youth of Kashmir.
Gulzar Ahmad is one such youth who has become a successful entrepreneur. The 26-year old young entrepreneur of Kanipora, Nowgam runs two farms under the banner Gulzar Poultry Farms.
“Like so many other educated unemployed youth, I too was looking for a government job. Then a friend gave me this idea of setting up a poultry farm, and I finally enrolled myself in the training programme of Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute where I not only got training of setting up a chicken farm but was also helped in getting capital support from the bank,” he said.
“To begin with, I started a small farm with a capacity of around 1000 chickens. Initially, I had to brace risks and work very hard. Today my venture is a successful one,” said triumphant Gulzar, with a smile.
Gulzar, at present, is not only a big supplier and distributer of poultry birds in the area, but also supplies chicken-feed to many farms in the village. In his poultry farms, located at a walking distance from his home, around 9000 chicken are being reared at present.
Now many youth are following Gulzar’s footsteps.
“After I setup my farm, many people from the village realized that they too can do it. I helped them in whatever way I could to establish their own units,” said the young entrepreneur with a sense of proud that he shown a way to many youth in his village that government job is not the only means to earn livelihood.
Another poultry farm owner Abdul Rashid said: “People were inspired by each other’s success and set up their own chicken farms. They are not only earning for themselves but providing employment to other people from localities.”
Government too offers help and incentives to aspiring entrepreneurs in the field of poultry farming.
Said an official working at the office of Chief Animal Husbandry Officer, Srinagar: “We have schemes for more than one crore rupees for large scale units. If anyone would like to open a poultry unit, we are more than happy to help him or her avail to this scheme.”
The department, as per the official, is currently running two poultry projects at Hariparbat (Srinagar) and Mattan (Anantnag) under integrated poultry development programme, which are providing assistance for setting up of poultry farms. The official added that more than 3000 poultry farms are functioning in the valley. “A successful poultry farm can provide employment to three to six people. And one can guess the employment generation potential in this field,” he said.
During year 2012-13, about 350 lakh poultry birds were imported to Kashmir province, said the official. “As per the latest data, about 400 lakh birds are being annually consumed in Kashmir province alone, while about 140 lakh birds are being reared locally. So, we have huge potential of poultry farming in valley,” he said.
Notwithstanding, the huge economic potential in poultry farming, the only problem confronted by the chicken farm owners of Nowpora is the fluctuating rates of chicken. The farm owners say that the government should fix a uniform rate for chicken so that they are able to sustain their poultry business.
“Director of food and supplies fixes the rates on different occasions, but they don’t realize how much it costs us to bring up one chicken in the farm,” said Rashid.
“If a uniform rate is fixed for chicken, this business will flourish and no one from this village will ever look fo r a government job,” added Rashid.