Meet Kashmir’s Engineer-turned-Dairy Farm Owner
Abu Bakar Khalid Bhat of Khiram village near Bijbihara is a familiar name among Kashmir’s dairy farmers. Khalid is an engineer by education and a dairy farmer by profession. Khalid is proud that Country Side Dairy Farm, his enterprise, brings fresh and unadulterated milk to all his patrons.
Khalid’s father Gulam Rasool Bhat is the Tehsildar of Bijbehara, and his mother Gulshan is a homemaker. Khalid was planning to migrate to the US when his mother’s illness cut short his plans. He was studying in Vishwaraya Technical University, Bangalore, and was in the last semester of B.Tech when he learned that his mother had been diagnosed with a chronic illness. He rushed home to be with her and take charge of her hospital visits and treatment. “After I came to know that my Ammi is unwell, I left my plans to go abroad. I knew I have to stay here and take care of her. Heaven lies under the mother’s feet,” Khalid said. “We took her to Delhi for her surgery. With Allah’s Grace, my mother is safe now,” he said.
Options for Work From Home
Khalid knew that he would have to start some business which he could operate from home. “I considered many options and realized that opening a dairy farm could be the right choice. With a close friend, I visited a dairy farmer in Pulwama to learn about the business. In 2019, we started our dairy farm. My friend and I were managing it smoothly but recently he had to leave the business,” said Khalid. The young dairy farmer says that his venture could not have been possible without the support and financial assistance provided by the families of both men. “If our families had not supported us, we would not have been able to start our venture,” said Khalid, expressing his gratitude towards his family.
Khalid recalls that his father wanted him to take up a job instead of starting a business. As fate would have it, Khalid chose to work in the dairy sector. He says that his sister chose the name of the dairy farm for him. “I am very happy that I sell fresh and unadulterated milk to my clients. It is sad that some dairy farmers compromise with milk quality or add synthetic products to milk. This is a sin and it should not be done,” said Khalid.
The Happy Entrepreneur
With his dairy farm, Khalid has generated employment for some youth in this area. “Milking is done by machines at our farm. We have three employees to help with the farm operations,” stated Khalid. Khalid has 15 cattle at his dairy farm of a Holland breed. The farm occupies about two Kanals of land. Khalid says that his business gives him great satisfaction. “I buy all products for my farms from Punjab, like cattle feed, grass, and other farm inputs. I had no experience in dairying but I love it now,” he said. Khalid says it is very important to know about cattle hygiene and medication. “Cow dung is useful as fertilizer for the orchards. We can also sell it,” he says. Khalid sells the milk produced at his farm for Rs 45 a kg. He says that the milk produced at his farm is in good demand. “We are thinking of expanding our range of products. I want to expand my business throughout the valley,” says the ambitious young man.