Junaid Khanday: a successful trout farmer
It is a trend all over our valley that young people after completing their studies try their luck in government jobs but most do not get any and end up in the private sector where salaries are relatively low and there are no has virtually no job security.
But the same is not true for this young boy from Pahalgam who, in order to become independent from his schooling, set up his commercial unit in the courtyard of his house.
Junaid Khanday, a 21 year old from Kathsoo Sallar area of Anantnag district lives en route to scenic Pahalgam. He started making a living at a time when boys his age were playing in the open fields of their locality.
Junaid set up a freshwater trout farm in front of his house and earned a good income while pursuing his studies. A B-com graduate, Junaid could have easily led a luxurious life since the family is well off with sprawling apple orchards while his father owns a good post in the police force, but instead of relying on his family, he turned the his father’s passion into an opportunity for gain.
“In 2010, my father, who works as an assistant sub-inspector in the police department, planned to establish a fish farm on our lawn because he was very passionate about fishing. But due to some problems, the fisheries department did not give permission.
It was in 2016 when I was in school that I applied for a fish farm after cleaning the lawn where we previously had a working water flour mill. Taking advantage of the fresh water flowing through our home, I provided a detailed project report to the Department of Fisheries who approved a fish farm for me. Since then, with a small investment, my business has reached new heights and I have recently expanded the fish ponds as the demand has increased a lot. I have received orders from outside Kashmir for the delivery of trout,” says Junaid.
Last year, Junaid received the Performer of the Year award from the Department of Fisheries for his outstanding production and sale of fish in the valley. This year, Junaid signed a contract with a Delhi-based company to supply two quintals of trout per week, much to the hopes of the private fishing industry in the valley. Previously, he sold around 35 quintals of trout per year locally.
“Last year’s best performer award from the government not only lifted my spirits but raised hopes among many young people in our locality especially. Many of my friends are planning a similar venture. I sold my fish products across the valley and to the best hotels in Srinagar, Pahalgam and local high-end restaurants.I even offer door-to-door delivery to my dedicated customers in Srinagar, Awantipora and Budgam, hundreds of miles away home,” he said.
He gives much of the credit to the Fisheries Department for supporting him throughout his years of travel. At the time of establishment they provided all kinds of support and even today their extension workers frequently visit his unit.
“The demand for supply is increasing day by day, which has prompted me to expand my unit this year. A Delhi-based company will receive freshly packed trout from the beginning of next month and a total of eight quintals that “She’ll buy from me every month. Such a response from outside the Valley has been a great encouragement to me and I think this is just the start,” says Junaid.
Junaid regularly employs two locals in addition to taking help from her two younger sisters from time to time. He now plans to join a local university for his master’s degree while permanently hiring more employees in his unit.
“As far as the management of my farm is concerned, I plan to regularize two employees whom I already frequently insure. Besides, my sisters are there to guide them. The best thing about this part-time fish farming business is that I can pursue my studies without any obstacles. God willing, I would establish more farms and a mechanized factory to pack fresh trout for other domestic and international markets, as exporting locally farmed trout is my dream,” he said. .
There is a huge demand for trout, especially in our country where the climatic conditions are warm and Kashmir has the distinction of producing the highest amount of freshwater trout. “The industry has the potential to grow tremendously,” adds Junaid.