New entrepreneurs are setting up their plants and the district has seen five big milk plants come up in 12 years

Known for being a hub of militancy, Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district, is now emerging as one of the biggest milk producers in the Valley. Hindustan Times has reported that the dairy cooperatives run by women and youngsters of Pulwama are transforming the milk production in the valley.

According to the report, last year, these milk cooperatives produced around 31 crore litres of milk which increased from 28.04 crore litres from the previous year. There are 40 milk collection centres in Pulwama now which collect milk from these cooperatives which produce 8.5 lakh litres of milk every day.

Amid this, new entrepreneurs are setting up their plants in the district and the district has five big milk plants come up in 12 years, the report said.

Shabir Ahmad, the owner of these units in Pulwama, while talking to HT said, “My unit has a capacity to process 50,000 litres of milk and the venture is running in profit. There is no shortage of milk here. We market and process more than 20,000 litres of milk and milk products every day.”

Ahmad said that his units get all the milk from local villages and their collection vans visit all the districts.

“Earlier, we used to collect milk from house to house, however, the network ended after the 2016 agitation when the Valley remained shut for six months. Now, we have suppliers who bring milk from households across the district,” he said.

District Chief Animal Husbandry Officer Syed Abas gives the credit to several initiatives taken by the government like providing subsidies to buy cows, equipment, tractors, milking machines, milk vans and automatic milk collecting units.

The geography of the area is also a plus point, he said. “The topography of the district is such that it is full of orchards and has vast swathes where fodder is grown. Almost every house has milch cattle. Many educated youngsters have also set up small dairy farms,” Abas said.

People of the nearby Shopian district are also taking inspiration from Pulwama. Chief Animal Husbandry Officer of Shopian Muneer Ahmad Qureshi said that the households in Shopian collectively produce 3 lakh litres of milk every day.

“Most rural families here were into horticulture but they have now shifted to rearing cows and collectively produce three lakh litres of milk a day,” he said.

“For women, the milk produced by cows generates enough to run their homes and gives them financial independence,” he says.

With the help of initiatives by the government, many youngsters are also starting up their businesses and planning to make a career in dairy farming.

Read the full report in Hindustan Times