Amidst the global recession, a young girl from South Kashmir has taken up the challenge to become a self-employed entrepreneur and started a Kiwi fruit nursery on one kanal of her land, inspiring the youth of Kashmir.
Gowhar Jabeena, a 24-year-old MSc Economics and Agriculture graduate from Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) University Kashmir, established the “Green Posh Nursery Unit” in Dabruna Ashajipora area of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
Jabeena’s unique start-up has made kiwi cultivation nurseries possible for the first time in South Kashmir after the plants were introduced by SKUAST on an experimental basis. The university has developed some experimental gardens for kiwi cultivation, and Jabeena took up the challenge to become a successful entrepreneur.
In a conversation with ANI, Jabeena shared her experience and said, “Girls should be independent. They should earn with their own hands, and I want to inspire girls to do something of their own. Even if they don’t want to start a kiwi business, they can do any other business that can help them earn and remain independent.”
After conducting extensive research at SKUAST University, Jabeena was able to solidify the concept of her kiwi nursery, with a focus on high-density plants. She observed that the market demand for kiwi is considerable, with one kiwi pair costing around Rs. 300 to Rs. 500, and one kiwi costing about Rs. 30 to Rs. 40. The value of the kiwi is increasing every day in Kashmir markets, she said.
“I started this business two years ago when I was studying at SKUAST University,” Jabeena said. “During my study, I thought why not start a business related to agriculture that will give me profit and independence? I have seen a lot of demand for Kiwis in the market, so I thought why not do the same at my home? When I started, many girls called me and said we got inspiration from you, If a man can do it, why not girls.”
Jabeena also highlighted that the climate of Kashmir is suitable for kiwi cultivation, and that if kiwi can be cultivated in Himachal Pradesh, then it can be done in Kashmir as well, since both states have almost the same climate.
The Green Posh Nursery Unit currently has three to four hundred pairs of male and female kiwi plants for sale, and people from South Kashmir come to buy from Jabeena’s nursery. She also plans to plant other fruits, including walnut, plums, peach, and apricot, besides kiwi.
Jabeena encourages other girls interested in learning about the Kiwi business to come forward and receive training so that they too can start their own units. She believes that there is a lot of potential in the cultivation of kiwi fruit in the valley that will bring double benefits to the farmers in Kashmir.
Last year, Bashir Ahmed War, a farmer from Sopore town in North Kashmir, made kiwi cultivation possible for the first time in the Kashmir Valley, Jabeena added.
Gowhar Jabeena’s journey as a self-made entrepreneur has been an inspiration to many girls and women in Kashmir, and her unique start-up is a testament to the potential of agriculture-based entrepreneurship in the valley.