Cow’s That! — She Invested Rs 17,000 To Buy A Cow And Now Runs A Flourishing Dairy Business
Masrat Jan from a village in Anantnag, Kashmir, runs Khanday Dairy Farm which sells milk worth Rs one lakh per month, apart from supplying tonnes of manure to apple orchard owners.
Junaid Manzoor Dar 10 Aug 2023 6:32 AM GMT
Sheipora Larkipora (Anantnag), J&K
In 2017, when Masrat Jan bought her first cow, little did she realise that her life would be transformed.
Today, the 40-year-old resident of Sheipora Larkipora village in Anantnag district of South Kashmir owns a dairy farm of ten cows with a monthly income of Rs 100,000. She also sells 50 tractor loads of cow dung per year to local farmers, at a cost of around Rs 3,000 per tractor.
From a ‘housewife’ of a shopkeeper, Masrat Jan is now a dairy entrepreneur in Kashmir who runs Khanday Dairy Farm from her village.
Agriculture contributes over 16 per cent to Jammu & Kashmir’s GDP, of which 35 per cent is contributed by the dairy sector. A vast number of people living in rural areas, such as Masrat Jan, rely on dairy and livestock for their livelihood.
Before she started her dairy farm, Masrat Jan was buying milk for her family from outside, when it occurred to her that if they had their own cow it would not just provide her family’s requirement, but also perhaps bring in a little income if she sold the surplus milk.
“I bought a single cow for Rs 17,000, that fetched me two litres of milk a day. That was enough for my family,” the mother of two — 13-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter — told Gaon Connection.
As weeks passed, she saw the potential in dairy farming as a means to transform their lives economically. Her husband, Shabir Ahmad Khanday, ran a wholesale shop in their village.
Recognising the need for better yields, she decided to sell the initial cow and invest in a higher yielding one. And convinced her husband to invest in it.
“It was the beginning of a learning experience for me. I sold my first cow for Rs 25,000 and bought a higher milk-yielding cow for Rs 40,000, which gave nearly 10 litres of milk a day,” Masrat Jan narrated.
This proved to be a game-changer for her. Keeping aside two litres of milk a day for her family’s needs, she started selling eight litres of milk to local villagers, thus ensuring a steady revenue.
Soon, she was ready to expand her business. “With the money I had saved after selling milk, I bought another cow for Rs 50,000. I took great care of it and fed it high quality feed, calcium, and grass, and the cow gave her 20 litres of milk every day — 10 litres in morning and 10 litres in the evening,” said Masrat Jan.
“Every cow in my farm is like family to me. I give them the best care, ensuring their well-being and health," she added.
Masrat Jan’s hard work helped her receive financial support from the animal husbandry department to further expand her dairy business.
In July 2020, the Integrated Dairy Development Scheme (IDDS) started an initiative to help rural people in J&K set up small dairy farms. Under this scheme, a male beneficiary can get a subsidy of Rs 1.75 lakh, while a woman or a Schedule Caste/Scheduled Tribe can get Rs 2 lakh to set up a dairy farming unit of five cows. One can even avail subsidy for multiple units.
"We had no knowledge about the scheme, even though we already had five cows in our farm. It was only when Dr Sohail Ahmad Beigh from the Animal Husbandry department approached us and explained the scheme's advantages that we realised what we were missing out on,” Masrat’s husband, Shabir Ahmad Khanday told Gaon Connection.
The couple visited the animal husbandry office at Anantnag in 2021 and completed all the formalities to avail the two lakh rupees subsidy for their dairy farm.
Like her, the scheme has helped several farmers start their own dairy business. According to the Department of Animal Husbandry, Kashmir, from April 2020 to March 2023, a total of 3,147 dairy units were established in the Kashmir region under the IDDS, while a subsidy amounting to Rs 3,948.76 lakh was dispersed during the same period.
Earlier this year, IDDS provided Masrat another subsidy of Rs 175,000 on the purchase of a specially designed van worth Rs 450,000. The van helps facilitate the smooth transportation of milk, making her operation more efficient and accessible to customers.
The government also gave her another subsidy of Rs 240,000 to purchase six high-milk yielding cows from Punjab for which she has spent Rs 6 lakh.
"The subsidy from the government gave us the financial boost needed to expand and invest in my wife’s dream. We are grateful for the government’s encouragement and belief in small-scale entrepreneurs like us," said Khanday.
Masrat Jan’s dairy farm has caught the attention of the local inhabitants.
"The milk of Khanday Dairy Farm is pure, tasty and obviously nutritious," Jahangir, who buys milk from Masrat's dairy farm, told Gaon Connection. Other customers of hers, such as Faisal Ahmed and M Yusuf, also spoke highly of the quality of the milk that came from her farm.
“I feel confident knowing that I'm giving my family a high-quality and nutritious product," said Faisal.
Benefiting the local community
Masrat Jan’s dairy farm is significantly contributing to the local economy and touching the lives of many in her community.
“I sell about 50 tractor loads of cow dung per year that I get from my dairy farm, at a cost of around Rs 3,000 per tractor. This aids in enhancing agriculture production, particularly in apple and other crop cultivation. The cow dung from my dairy farm is benefitting local farmers who use it as an organic fertiliser,” she said.
She has also employed two individuals for a monthly salary of Rs 10,000 each.
At present, their dairy farm yields 115 litres of milk daily, bringing in approximately Rs one lakh in monthly income. The milk is sold for Rs 35 a litre.
Masrat hoped she would in the near future be able to get a higher price for the milk her dairy farm supplied.
Dr Burhan, an official from the department of Animal Husbandry in Srinagar, suggested that dairy farmers like Masrat Jan should form milk cooperatives in their respective areas to get a higher price for their milk.
Masrat Jan is confident of doing the same. “Our journey has been full of challenges, but with the government's support, we are confident that we can overcome anything that comes our way,” she said.
Meanwhile, her husband, Khanday has promised to stand by her. “I am proud to stand beside her as she continues to reach new heights in her business," he smiled.