JK Bank

Milk—the need to nourish the hour—has made its ways into the muddy lanes of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, and has become the market leader in milk production in Kashmir; this new private industry has been bombarded by the entrepreneurs to milk some money out of it.

Pulwama—36 kilometers away from the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir—the hot-spot in the Himalayan-surrounded conflict-ridden Valley, has emerged as a new hub for milk-producers. Crossing the apple orchards—militancy-prone area and military guns—The Kashmir Walla reached 30-year-old Danish Andrabi’s farm.

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Hobby-turned-passion for Mr. Andrabi, done with his Masters in Business from Bangalore by then, rejected a job, came back home, thought of starting a business of his own; and gave dairy farm and livestock business a shot.

Getting a warm shoulder from J-K Entrepreneur Development Institute’s Director Dr. Mohd Ismael Parry and consultancy, Mr. Andrabi was provided with 21 days training and an amount of 8 Lakh in 2013 to give wing his dreams.

But, Mr. Andrabi had a few earlier lows when the foreign breed he bought couldn’t survive in Valley’s weather conditions; though, after that, he chose eight cows and worked hard on them, and started with the production cost of 150 kgs of milk which increased much fold with time.

In the forthcoming devastating floods of 2014, the grass fell short in Kashmir, and Mr. Andrabi had to pay more than the average rate. But, with time he started two more dairy farms in partnership, one in Pahu, his hometown and another in Narbal area of Srinagar.

Kashmir cows.
Mr. Andrabi’s farm in Pulwama.

As per the record available on the website of Animal Husbandry, the annual milk production of Pulwama district, during the year 2017-18, was recorded 284 Th. Tons, the highest in J-K, amounting to an annual revenue generation industry of roughly 261 Crores.

Mr. Andrabi’s enthusiasm didn’t rest there; he started propagating the idea of a breeding center and hence started one with Dr. Javed Qureshi, a specialist in the mentioned field. Mr. Andrabi’s other shot hit the target, and soon he was able to supply at least 150 cows to new dairy entrepreneurs from 2016.  

Today, Mr. Andrabi owns three dairy farms, one poultry farm, and one sheep rearing farm.

Talking to The Kashmir Walla, Shahbaaz Rasool, senior Veterinary pharmacist said, “Every day Pulwama produces 7.80 lac liters of milk, out of which 4.5 lac liters is supplied to Srinagar.” As per him, Pulwama district has 69 registered dairy farms.

And the stories of successful entrepreneurs in this industry doesn’t stop here; another problem, that Imtiyaz Ahmad Deen saw was the wastage of milk during the summer season. District Industries Centre (DIC) liked the idea of Mr. Deen and backed him open a plant in Industrial Center, Lassipora area of Pulwama, named Haleeb milk in 2012; aiming to accumulate the raw milk and sending it back in the market pasteurized and making curd out of it.

Mr. Deen, today, supplies a minimum of 15,000 liters of milk every day to market, after collecting it in raw form from locals early in the morning. They have developed their capacity of production to 50,000 liters per day to meet the growing requirement in the market.

Back in 2008, Shafat Shah, in his early 50s, who owns many business plants, visited a milk plant in Mumbai, and after being fascinated, decided to start a milk plant, under Zum Zum milk, of his own.

Following thorough research and studying market, Mr. Shah finally established a milk plant in Industrial Growth Centre (IGC) in Lassipora. As per numbers, 90-100 thousand liters of milk is being required in the market in winters while around 1.5 lakh liters of milk is needed to fulfill the demand in the summer season.

Being inspired by these success stories in a place, where meeting ends is tough for a private sector, many more young entrepreneurs have left their jobs and further other options to set a foot in this booming sector of the market.

Mr. Andrabi’s multiple friends including Umair-ul- Haq, Asif, and Mudasir have started their own dairy farms, and are moving ahead successfully only to achieve higher goals as Mr. Andrabi did.