Dairy sector thriving in Kashmir

Srinagar: Dairy farming has been picking up in Kashmir with many educated youth starting their units to make earnings and feed their families.

Shahid Ahmad from Shopian started a dairy farm in September 2021. He said he set up the three units with five cows each after researching on the internet a lot about this sector and got to know this sector has a huge potential.

“We have apple orchards where there is a lot of grass available during summer and can feed these cows,” he said.

Each day they produce 1,75 litres of milk with each litre costing @Rs 30 and making an earnings of around Rs 1.5 lakh monthly. However, a major share he said goes on various expenses including on the feed.

Similarly, in October 2021, Farooq Ahmad, 32, from Shopian brought 25 cows and set up five dairy farming units. He availed subsidy of Rs 1.75 lakh for each unit from the government.

Since then he along with his brother have been looking after their dairy farming in a cow shed.

“We produce 2 quintal of milk daily and sell @Rs 30/litre. We make an earning of Rs 60,00 daily which is Rs 1,80,000 per month. Each month, the expenses have been Rs 1,40,000 with savings of Rs 40,000,” he said.

“A lot of youth especially in Shopian and Pulwama districts have started dairy farming. They make good earnings and feed their families. Besides, these youth who have set up these units have created employment opportunities for many people,” a senior official of the Animal Husbandry Department said.

Being an agrarian region, the agriculture sector contributes 16.18% to J&K’s GDP, of which 35% is contributed by the Dairy Sector which is one of the most important sectors and the vast population living in rural areas relies on dairy and livestock for their livelihood.

To increase production, the government started several schemes including the Integrated Diary Development Scheme (IDDC) in 2020 which focuses on setting up of small dairy farms.

Under this scheme, a male beneficiary can get subsidy of Rs 1.75 lakh while a female and SC and ST can get Rs 2 lakh for setting up of dairy farm of five cows. One can even avail subsidy for multiple farms.

The scheme is not only on providing financial assistance, but also supporting the dairy producer by providing milking machine, bulk milk cooling unit at 50% subsidy, paneer making machine, khoya making, dahi making, cream separator, ice cream making machine, butter and ghee making machine, milk van, milk ATM.

As per the officials, apart from several schemes, the government is looking at various interventions like genetic up-gradation of cattle, cattle induction, fodder development, milk procurement and processing and health coverage and risk management. (KINS)

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