Sheep Farming Catching Among Young Kashmir Entrepreneurs

Sheep Farming Catching Among Young Kashmir Entrepreneurs

8 December 2013
Greater Kashmir
Mukeet Akmali

Srinagar: Breaking away from traditional set of doing business, young entrepreneurs are choosing new line of activities. Sheep farming is one such activity that is fast catching attention. With government providing incentives besides logistic support and financial assistance, large number of youth have set up sheep farms here which according them will bridge gap between demand and supply of mutton in the Valley. Faisal Wani is one example among many youth who have established sheep farm and is a success story. Wani left his lucrative job in Dubai and back home worked on an innovative idea. In 2011 he established a sheep farm in Budgam district with a concept which at that time everyone doubted to be successful. “I started initially with 25 ewes and 1 ram. As an owner of the farm I had to work hard as the sheep can catch diseases very quickly and one has to be very cautious in handling them. After two years of being in the business I have around 500 sheep and so far I am doing good as there is huge demand of mutton in the Valley,” Wani said. But Wani cautions budding entrepreneurs who plan to set-up sheep farms that before starting, they should take advice from experts. “It is not an easy line to choose as there are many drawbacks like winter conditions are very difficult for sheep. So one has to be patient, hardworking and must have proper heating facilities in place,” he adds. Wani who has done his initial schooling from the valley and later his Master in Business Administration from Dubai says that this line of activity –sheep farming has a huge potential and can provide livelihood to large number of unemployed youth. Similarly, Tabish Salim - an undergraduate student has also started sheep farm in Islamabad area. He says that though it is his first year in business. “But I am hopeful that it will be a successful venture as there is huge potential in this line because of the demand of mutton in market. “ Salim - a son of ex-banker says that in future besides continuing his studies he wants to expand his business. Not only young entrepreneurs are showing interested in this field, even the elderly people are keen in starting sheep farms. Najeebullaha- a retired engineer who owns a sheep farm at Chattergam says his experience in the trade has been good so far. But according to him, sheep farmers face lot of problem during winters due to cold weather and one has to provide fodder to sheep which adds extra burden on the pockets of entrepreneurs. “During summer, the sheep are usually send to upper reaches for grazing but during winter one has to feed them which costs a lot,” he said. According to experts Kashmir valley has huge potential for sheep farms as there is huge demand of mutton and the state is dependent on imports to meet local consumption. As per the official figures Kashmir valley consumes 51,000 tonne mutton every year. Out of this, annually 21,000 tonne are imported from outside the states. The department of sheep husbandry however in order to encourage entrepreneurs to set up sheep farm units have introduced various schemes such as Mini sheep farms, integrated development of small ruminants and rabbit scheme, National mission for protein supplementation scheme, Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana scheme and backyard sheep farming scheme etc. The department also provides the logistic support like optimal breeding veterinary health care and technical guidance at doorstep, market intervention of sheep and sheep products.