Overlooking the social stigma of being called Shepherd, a young lad from Kashmir has set an example of self-reliance by taking sheep farming as his career despite being well educated.
Hailing from Gounchipora village in Sumbal Tehsil of North Kashmir's Bandipora district, Hussain is a postgraduate in history and after completing his education, he went outside Kashmir and got placed in an MNC at Delhi. Hussain said that he was earning handsomely but like many other lads, he always wanted to earn a livelihood in his homeland and support his family. "I came back to Kashmir and toiled hard for getting myself settled in a govt job but luck was not in my favour. It hit me hard and was deflated by the scourge of unemployment.
Hussain said he was fearing an uncertain future but then picked himself up and after reading for a few years and taking into account various tradeoffs, he decided to make a living out of sheep farming.
"Being from a rural area I had acquaintance with sheep farming but the quest of doing things differently, I always was keen to introduce the scientific management practices into the traditional sheep farming and make a living," Hussain said.
He said after attending various training programs conducted by Sheep Husbandry Department Bandipora and visit to various sheep farms he developed an interest in this sector. "Sheep farming is a sustainable and profitable enterprise provided considerable efforts are put in. Patience and conviction in life can turn things in your favour", he said.
He said currently, he owns eighty (80) sheep including fifty-two females and 28 males, out of which a few are lambs and some hoggets. "Initially I started with a handful of animals but after maintaining a close liaison with the department I got to know scientific feeding and management practices which I adopted from time to time.
Hussain said he earns a net profit of Rs 3.5 lakh annually which is mainly on the selling of sacrificial animals on Eid-ul-Azha. On an average 20- 30 animals are being sold every year with an average weaning weight of 30kg.
He said that the manure he gets is utilized as a fertilizer for his fields and orchards which he believes helps him in getting good forage as well as horticulture outputs from his land and that too without the use of chemical fertilizers and has thereby reduced the input cost on feeding.
Hussain believes that there is a tremendous scope in sheep farming but the people associated with it are being looked down upon, and no one is ready to take pains and patience that this sector demands he said with profound grief and this sets me thinking, he exclaimed.
Hussain said ever since he has been associated with sheep rearing he has always expressed gratitude to the Sheep Husbandry Department for extending a helping hand regarding technical advice and providing opportunities for young entrepreneurs to start up their own businesses via offering various centrally sponsored departmental schemes and disease control programs.
Hussain said he was lucky this year to have his hands on a shearing machine in subsidized mode." The main factors that have contributed to his success are his interest and passion towards advanced technologies. Agriculture and allied sectors are remunerative when we make decisions in the right direction", he believes.
He adds that the young generation should give agriculture a try and aim for sustainable development. His plan for the future is to expand the farm and focus on housing keeping in view of the scientific guidelines.
Hussain said he has achieved success with his farm due to several factors, including personal involvement, close supervision, maintaining a liaison with the department, keen interest in the advancements in sheep rearing, adaptability and vividness towards departmental programs. (ANI