In the idyllic valleys of Kupwara, the heart of northern Kashmir, Mohammad Ashraf War’s entrepreneurial spirit has woven a tale of success, turning a modest trout farm into a source of inspiration. Five years ago, armed with a passion for trout and an MSc degree, Ashraf embarked on an unconventional journey, reshaping not only his life but also leaving an imprint on his community.
From the serene Mawar TCP, Ashraf’s story unfolds as a testament to resilience. Despite formidable financial challenges, he clung to his dream. The Fisheries Department’s unwavering support became the lifeline, turning his vision into reality.
Since its inception in 2018, Ashraf’s trout farm has weathered nature’s challenges and thrived, a testament to his determination. “Challenges exist due to natural circumstances, but overall, everything unfolds as planned, including the production,” Ashraf shares with satisfaction.
For Ashraf, the trout farm is more than a business; it is a passion fuelling his pursuit of excellence. “I have been connected to this trout farm for years, and the passion won’t ever diminish,” he affirms. The farm, now a cornerstone of his livelihood, is the sole financial support for his family, generating a handsome income.
Ashraf underscores the economic significance of his venture, highlighting its role as the primary financial pillar for his family, generating a substantial income.
The ongoing efforts are directed at broadening market reach and increasing demand, with a strategic focus on various marketplaces to strengthen grassroots support.
In emphasizing the nutritional value of trout fish, Ashraf accentuates its superiority and popularity in the Kashmir valley. He specifically notes the species’ characteristic of having fewer bones, addressing concerns related to bone-related issues and making it a preferred choice.
“Not only in Kupwara, in fact I receive orders from other districts as well. We go for mass sale on religious festivals of Hindus in order to keep the stock available so that they can cherish the moment,” War said.
While sharing the experience, Ashraf told this correspondent that generally it takes a year for fish to be able to be sold. “I purchase seed from Kokernag, following a rigorous handwork of almost one year the fish attains the saleable weight,” he said.
Ashraf said that the convenient saleable weight for trout is considered to be in between 300 to 350 gms and if reared properly it can gain the said weight within eight months.
“Since trout fish need purest form of flowing water so one needs to be extra cautious while dealing with the trade. During rainy season water tends to get polluted and it is when mud gets settled at the bottom of farm. The removal of mud at the earliest is a must and in failing doing so could be really detrimental for fish,” added Wani.
“Since trout fish is liked by all so the demand remains always on the higher side but still many people are not in trout fish farming. There is much scope in trout fish farming,” War told Greater Kashmir.
In a call to action for the youth, Ashraf encourages them to embark on entrepreneurial journey. He advocates steering clear of detrimental substances like drugs, stressing the importance of making positive life choices for a promising and fulfilling future.