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Scales of Success: How Saiqa Mushtaq Turned Fish Farm into Fortune

The fish farming over the last few years has become a crucial source of livelihood for hundreds of people in  Jammu and Kashmir
06:00 AM Jun 25, 2024 IST | Gulzar Bhat
scales of success  how saiqa mushtaq turned fish farm into fortune

In the picturesque village of Adigam, just a short drive from Kokernag town in south Kashmir's Anantnag district, 22-year-old Saiqa Mushtaq has turned fish farming into a thriving business venture.


Every morning, Saiqa can be found tending to her fish pond, where she diligently feeds hundreds of fish and carefully monitors the water levels to ensure optimal conditions. Seeing these creatures gliding through the glossy waters creates a charming scene in this rural setting.


Saiqa's journey into fish farming began a few years ago when she formed a Self Help Group (SHG) in her village. This initiative has since become the main source of income for her and her family.
The young entrepreneur's dedication is evident in her daily routine. "I make sure the fish are well-fed and the water conditions are just right," Saiqa explained. "It's hard work, but seeing the fish thrive is truly rewarding."


Local officials have praised Mushtaq's efforts, citing her as an example of successful youth entrepreneurship in the region. Her story highlights the potential of aquaculture in providing sustainable livelihoods in rural Kashmir.


As the demand for fresh fish continues to grow in the area, Saiqa's pond not only supports her family but also contributes to the local economy.


The initiative came about when the officials from the Jammu and Kashmir Rural Livelihood Mission ( JKRLM) UMEDD  visited the village and provided information to the residents about the benefits offered under the program.


According to Saiqa, she received every possible help for setting up the farm.
“Besides financial help, I received adequate training for this initiative," Saiqa said.
The fish farming over the last few years has become a crucial source of livelihood for hundreds of people in  Jammu and Kashmir with more people taking to this kind of farming.


To harness the potential of the fisheries sector in India, the Department of Fisheries under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying has launched several initiatives aimed at the comprehensive development and welfare of fishers. These initiatives include three main schemes, Blue Revolution, Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY), and Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF). All these initiatives are aimed at enhancing the fisheries sector's growth and supporting the livelihoods of those engaged in fishing activities across the country.

Last year, the government of Jammu and Kashmir approved Rs176 crore projects aiming at enhancing fish production. The projects include importing genetically improved fish seed, upgrading current fish-rearing facilities and hatcheries, advancing aqua culture diversity through R & D and utilizing advanced technologies like RAS and Biofloc for commercializing trout and carp fish production.

According to Saiqa, her fish pond produces around 1000 kgs of fish each year, fetching her a total amount of Rs 5,00000. Her initiative also employs 2 to 3 people.

Saiqa not only sells her harvest in a local market but also supplies it to other farms. Even sometimes people show up at her farm to buy the harvest.

“Since 2020, my earnings from fish sales have totalled around Rs 20 to Rs 25 lakh," Saiqa said.
Encouraged by the financial gains, Saiqa recently established another pond in her village.

“The initiative has proved quite lucrative and the people from rural areas, particularly women could set up such units easily," she said.

Saiqa said that the rural women who formed such Self Help Groups were weaving their success stories.

“It is better to avail different schemes rolled out by the government than to run after the government employment," she said.