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Mahoor’s hiking expeditions connect people to their past

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heritage walks for history buffs and travel enthusiasts.

Passion with a purpose

Syed Jesarat

Mahoor Shaw, a jewellery designer and a passionate hiker, curates heritage walks for history buffs and travel enthusiasts.

Twenty-seven-year-old, Mahoor is not just enthusiastic about hiking but has a purpose. She wants to acquaint people with their forgotten past.

“I have been a history lover since my childhood, and it is my passion to visit historical spots that is why I started these heritage walks,” says Mahoor. “First I curated the walks for my family and friends, which later motivated me to start group tours.”

Mahoor says though she started organising heritage walks in 2019 but her tour and travel registration is still pending.

A BBA graduate from the University of Kashmir with two fellowships, the Young India Fellowship and Naropa Fellowship, Mahoor is fulfilling her dream of being a travel lover by making it a small private organisation. This independent organization of hers is drawing in an ever-increasing number of clients due to its fun and historical visits. The clients are both from Kashmir as well as from outside.

heritage walks for history buffs and travel enthusiasts.She uses social media, particularly Instagram, to publicise these history expeditions and also organises all the arrangements online through her Instagram page, which goes by the name of “The Whirling Zoon”.

“I picked this graceful name since I am a drifter, and in my friend circle, I am known as Zoon (which implies moon in Kashmiri),” she says.

Hailing from downtown Srinagar, Mahoor never thought a lot about society with regard to her enthusiasm and vocation. With full family support, she figured out how to follow her energy.

“My family is always supportive and they never stop me from following my interests. I started cycling when I was a child and used to go freely around the city,” she says.

 “I love to trek and travel a lot, eat traditional food; and all that which is related to our culture is of high value to me.”

The Whirling Zoon coordinates hikes and visits to the various historical spots, but each group has a limit of 15 individuals so that each interested person is connected and gets the attention of the organisers. Mahoor does everything by herself, from administration to guiding the trekkers.

The specific rules are followed while taking individuals on hikes and walks. Protocols such as what shoes to wear and what things to carry so that trekking is hassle-free are strictly followed.

So far, Mahoor has organised trips to Buddhist Monastery Harwan, and mountain treks to Srinagar outskirts, besides various craft visits, where it was a unique learning experience about weaving and weavers for the visitors.

heritage walks for history buffs and travel enthusiasts.The first nature walk was open to all. About 40 individuals joined the group where the oldest one was 56 years old and the youngest one was 14.

“People from different areas and backgrounds show their interest to join our walks. They want to explore more. They want to be part of such trips,” she says.

 “I make it a point to familiarize all the trekkers with our traditional food that is generally served in earthenware.”

The word about ‘The Whirling Zoon’ expeditions has reached quite far. Mahoor even had some clients from Bangalore, who wanted a curated tour of Mughal Gardens.

The upcoming heritage walks would be in South Kashmir, which would be informed through ‘The Whirling Zoon’ Instagram handle. Besides, the visit to various craft centres to make them meet craftsmen, are also in pipeline.

“People get to know one another and share numerous contemplations about anything and everything. It is actually an incredible experience to meet and interact with people coming from different cultures and interests,” says Mahoor.

“Young ladies are cheerfully being a part of it and their folks are likewise permitting them, after posing me few enquiries about the visit and hikes,” she adds.

Mahoor charges a nominal fee from the trekkers so that she could manage the affairs.

“Initially, there were no charges. However, presently, we charge some fees so that we could manage the operations. However, for the students, the fee is minimum,” she says.

Mahoor is also a professional jewellery designer. She manages her business of Jewellery on the online platform, Instagram, by the name ‘Imroz Kashmir’.

heritage walks for history buffs and travel enthusiasts.heritage walks for history buffs and travel enthusiasts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I balance both my passion and profession,” says Mahoor.

The hikes she organises are about knowing the society and culture of Kashmir. Mahoor was planning for an overnight shift as well but, it has not been possible as yet for “The Whirling Zoon”.

“I maintain that people should know their own region, Kashmir has many historical spots, reach out to the local community and know about their lives, we ought to accomplish something which is really great for local people and furthermore, which does not hurt environment too,” she says.

People should follow their enthusiasm and attempt to make something out of it. She encourages all the young explorers, particularly females, to follow their passion and dreams.

“I maintain that an ever-increasing number of people should follow their passion and should not be bothered about negativity,” says Mahoor.

“Live your life, regardless of assuming that you won’t succeed, keep attempting till you reach your goals,” with this advice to her peers, Mahoor signs off.

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Startups

Administrative Council approves J&K Startup Policy 2024-27

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J&K Startup Policy

BK News

JAMMU: The Administrative Council (AC) which met here under the chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor, Manoj  Sinha, Thursdat approved  J&K  Startup Policy  2024-27  in supersession to the Startup Policy notified in the year 2018.

The policy has the objective of setting up 2000 new startups in Jammu & Kashmir in the next 5 years, according to an official statement.

Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor; Atal Dulloo, Chief Secretary; Mandeep Kumar Bhandari, Principal Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor attended the meeting.

The Government of Jammu &Kashmir will set up a Venture Capital Fund of Rs 250 Crores and will infuse maximum of Rs. 25 Crores as an initial fund to this venture capital fund.

The venture capital fund so created shall invest primarily in recognized start-ups of Jammu & Kashmir. The Department shall work out detailed modalities for the creation of venture funds and its usage in consultation with the Finance Department.

The department may also work out a mechanism to facilitate the allotment of land to startups having good potential for growth. There is also a provision of one-time assistance as  Seed Funding up to Rs.20 lakhs, in 4 equal instalments,  to be provided to startups recognized by JKEDI  which is a nodal agency for startups. For seed funding, there is the capping of  25 startups per year which is a decision based upon available budget and desire to support a manageable number of start-ups effectively.

The Government is committed to establishing 2000 startups in three years but by providing seed funding to a smaller number of carefully selected start-ups,  the Government can prioritize quantity over quality for long-term economic growth. This will also ensure that the resources are utilized efficiently. The budgetary support for the implementation of the Startup Policy for a period of three years will be Rs.  39.60 Crores.

To nurture and inspire the entrepreneurial talent of J&K by creating a vibrant and robust start-up eco-system in the UT. The Government felt that there is a need to re-furbish the existing start-up policy issued in the year 2018 and bring a new policy suited to meet model challenges in this sector in the UT of J&K.

The feedback received from various stakeholder consultations by the Industries and Commerce Department, the need was felt to strengthen the incubation and acceleration eco-system for startups which has been addressed in the current policy.

 The implementation of this scheme in UT shall be monitored by a High Powered Committee headed by the Chief Secretary and implemented by a  Task Force Committee headed by the Administrative Secretary, Industries & Commerce.

The policy provides for providing entrepreneurship facilities to students, and women and support to the entrepreneurs through Government/ Private/ High Net worth individuals for setting up of startups.

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AgriBiz

Vegetable Science: A Potential Area for Startups in J&K

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Vegetable Science

Dr Asima Amin     Dr Baseerat Afroza      Naveed Hamid

In a world grappling with the challenges of population growth, environmental sustainability, and a shifting focus towards healthier lifestyles, the potential of vegetable science in startups emerges as a beacon of transformative innovation. The intersection of agriculture, technology, and health has given rise to a myriad of opportunities for entrepreneurs to revolutionize the way we cultivate, consume, and benefit from vegetables.

As global consciousness veers towards sustainable practices and healthier food choices, startups delving into vegetable science are poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of our food systems. This introduction seeks to explore the diverse avenues where startups can harness the power of vegetable science to address pressing issues such as food security, nutritional health, and environmental impact.

From leveraging cutting-edge technologies in agriculture to developing novel plant-based food products, the potential applications of vegetable science are vast and impactful. This exploration encompasses not only the traditional aspects of farming and crop management but also delves into the realms of biotechnology, food technology and sustainable business practices.

We will delve into specific domains where startups can thrive, exploring how innovation in vegetable science can drive change in agribusiness, food technology, health and wellness, sustainability, and more. The goal is to unveil the untapped potential that lies within the realm of vegetable science, inspiring entrepreneurs, investors, and stakeholders to contribute to a more sustainable, nutritious, and equitable future.

As we embark on this journey through the fertile landscape of vegetable science in startups, envision a world where the humble vegetable becomes a catalyst for transformative change, not only in our diets but in the very fabric of how we approach agriculture, technology, and the well-being of our planet.

STARTUP AREAS

Vegetable science can play a significant role in startups across various sectors, ranging from agriculture and food technology to health and sustainability. Here are some potential areas where vegetable science can contribute to startup innovations:

  1. Ag-Tech Startups:

    • Precision Farming: Utilize technology, sensors and data analytics to optimize vegetable cultivation, ensuring efficient resource use and higher yields.
    • Vertical Farming: Develop indoor farming solutions using controlled environments, allowing year-round vegetable production in urban areas.
    • Biotechnology: Explore genetic modification and breeding techniques to enhance the nutritional content, disease resistance,and overall quality of vegetables.
  2. Food Technology:

    • Plant-Based Alternatives: Create innovative plant-based products using vegetables to meet the growing demand for vegetarian and vegan options.
    • Food Preservation: Develop technologies for extending the shelf life of vegetables, reducing food waste, and ensuring freshness during transportation.
    • Nutritional Enhancement: Explore methods to fortify vegetables with additional nutrients to address specific health concerns.
  3. Health and Wellness:

    • Functional Foods: Develop vegetable-based products with specific health benefits, such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant or immune-boosting properties.
    • Nutraceuticals: Investigate the medicinal properties of vegetables and create supplements or health products based on their natural compounds.
  4. Sustainability:

    • Circular Economy: Implement sustainable practices in vegetable production, such as recycling agricultural waste, utilizing organic fertilizers, and adopting eco-friendly packaging.
    • Zero-Waste Solutions: Develop technologies to utilize every part of vegetables, minimizing waste and creating by-products for various applications.
  5. Smart Farming and IoT:

    • Smart Sensors: Integrate sensors to monitor soil conditions, water levels, and plant health, allowing farmers to make data-driven decisions for optimized crop management.
    • IoT in Supply Chain: Implement IoT technologies to track and monitor vegetables throughout the supply chain, ensuring quality, reducing losses, and enhancing traceability.
  6. Education and Consulting:

    • Agribusiness Consulting: Startups can provide consultancy services to farmers on adopting modern vegetable cultivation techniques, sustainable practices, and technology integration.
    • Educational Platforms: Develop online platforms to educate farmers, entrepreneurs, and consumers about the latest advancements in vegetable science, sustainable agriculture, and healthy eating.
  7. Community and Social Impact:

    • Community Gardens: Startups can facilitate community-based vegetable gardens, promoting local produce, community engagement, and sustainable agriculture practices.
    • Social Enterprises: Combine vegetable science with social impact by addressing issues like food insecurity, promoting fair trade, and supporting local farmers.

IMPACT OF STARTUPS IN VEGETABLE SCIENCE

The potential of vegetable science in startups offers a range of benefits that extend beyond economic success. These ventures can positively impact various sectors and address pressing global challenges. Here are some key benefits:

  1. Sustainable Agriculture:

    • Resource Efficiency: Startups can develop technologies and practices that optimize resource use, such as water, fertilizers, and land, contributing to sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture.
    • Reduced Environmental Impact: By promoting organic farming, minimizing chemical pesticide use, and adopting eco-friendly practices, vegetable science startups can contribute to reducing the environmental footprint of agriculture.
  2. Innovation in Crop Management:

    • Increased Yields: Precision farming technologies and genetic modifications can lead to higher crop yields, addressing the growing demand for food in a world with an expanding population.
    • Disease Resistance: Genetic modifications can enhance the resistance of vegetables to pests and diseases, reducing the reliance on chemical pesticides and promoting healthier crops.
  3. Health and Nutrition:

    • Improved Nutritional Content: Biotechnological advancements can be harnessed to enhance the nutritional content of vegetables, providing consumers with healthier and more nutrient-rich food options.
    • Functional Foods: Startups focusing on functional foods can contribute to improved public health by developing vegetable-based products with specific health benefits.
  4. Economic Opportunities:

    • Job Creation: The growth of vegetable science startups can lead to job creation across various sectors, including agriculture, technology, research, and product development.
    • Market Expansion: Innovations in vegetable-based products can open up new markets and cater to the increasing demand for sustainable and plant-based alternatives.
  5. Food Security and Accessibility:

    • Year-Round Production: Vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture enable year-round vegetable production, reducing dependence on seasonal harvests and improving food security.
    • Localized Farming: Community-based initiatives and startups focused on local farming contribute to localized food production, reducing the need for extensive transportation and storage.
  6. Technological Advancements:

    • Smart Farming: Integration of technology in agriculture, such as smart sensors and IoT devices, leads to more efficient and data-driven farming practices, improving overall productivity.
    • Traceability and Transparency: Technologies for supply chain traceability enhance transparency in the food production process, building consumer trust and meeting the demand for ethically sourced products.
  7. Community Engagement and Social Impact:

    • Community Empowerment: Initiatives like community gardens and social enterprises create opportunities for community engagement, fostering a sense of empowerment and ownership among local populations.
    • Addressing Food Insecurity: Socially focused startups can play a role in addressing food insecurity by promoting sustainable and affordable vegetable production methods.
  8. Education and Awareness:

    • Knowledge Dissemination: Educational platforms and consulting services contribute to disseminating knowledge about sustainable agriculture practices, technology adoption, and healthy eating habits.
    • Empowering Farmers: Agribusiness consulting services empower farmers with the knowledge and tools to adopt modern practices, improving their livelihoods and the sustainability of their operations.

Conclusion

The potential of vegetable science in startups holds tremendous promise and presents exciting opportunities for innovation, sustainability, and societal impact. As the world grapples with challenges such as food security, environmental sustainability, and public health, leveraging the power of vegetable science can pave the way for transformative solutions.

Startups focusing on vegetable science can contribute significantly to agricultural advancements by developing resilient and high-yielding vegetable varieties through breeding techniques, genetic engineering and precision agriculture. This not only addresses global food demand but also aids in the conservation of resources, reduction of environmental impact, and mitigation of climate change.

Furthermore, the integration of cutting-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and data analytics, into vegetable science can enhance crop monitoring, optimize resource utilization, and streamline supply chain processes. This not only increases efficiency but also opens new avenues for automation and smart farming practices.

The nutritional value of vegetables also plays a crucial role in promoting public health and wellness. Startups can explore innovative approaches to enhance the nutritional content of vegetables, develop functional foods, or create new plant-based products to meet the growing demand for healthy and sustainable diets.

Moreover, the rise of alternative protein sources, including plant-based proteins derived from vegetables, presents a unique opportunity for startups to contribute to the burgeoning market of sustainable protein options. By developing novel processing techniques and improving the taste and texture of plant-based products, these startups can cater to the increasing consumer preference for environmentally friendly and ethical food choices.

In Nutshell, the convergence of vegetable science, technology, and entrepreneurship holds the potential to revolutionize the agriculture and food industry. Startups that embrace this intersection can not only drive economic growth but also make significant contributions to addressing some of the most pressing challenges facing our planet. As the world continues to recognize the importance of sustainable and nutritious food systems, vegetable science startups stand at the forefront of creating a more resilient, efficient, and healthier future for all.

SKUAST K under the ambit of SKUAST K Innovation, Incubation & Entrepreneurship Centre is always ready to support new young minds or budding entrepreneurs who wish to start their enterprises or have some novel or great ideas to take it forward to convert them into minimum viable products or technologies in vegetable science field can come and take advantage of this Centre situated in SKUAST K main campus Shalimar.

The authors are faculty at SKUAST-K

 

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AgriBiz

Exploring untapped opportunities of Agri-tech startups in Jammu and Kashmir

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Agri-tech startups
Mohammad Sarwat Hassnain Alam Khan
Naveed Hamid

Agri-tech startups have a crucial and emerging role in the development of the agriculture sector. They can be used to incorporate various technological developments like data analytics and IoT to improve crop yield, reduce wastage and streamline the agricultural supply chain.

In the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, agriculture has a leading and important role in the development and improvement of the economy of the region. Approximately, 70% of the population of the UT is directly or indirectly dependent on this sector. The region with this rich agricultural heritage is primarily dependent on traditional agricultural practices. Yet, the region faces several challenges, including limited access to modern farming techniques and a lack of infrastructure and resources to boost productivity. Irrespective of these hurdles there is a good untapped potential in the Agri-tech startups to flourish. Agri-tech startups have the potential to address these challenges and transform the agricultural landscape of Jammu and Kashmir. They can bring innovative solutions leveraging technology, data analytics, and modern farming techniques. Some of the untapped opportunities they can explore in the region are:

  1. Precision Framing: Agri-tech startups can introduce modern techniques like drone technology, satellite imagery, IoT IoT-based devices to improve and monitor soil health, crop quality and yield, and reduce resource wastage. Various technologies that can be used are:
  • GPS and GIS technologies will help farmers create detailed maps of their field including positioning of the equipment, soil types, nutrient levels and other relevant spatial information.
  • Remote Sensing, sensors, telematics and IoT including technologies like drones, satellites, moisture and crop health sensors provide real-time data like crop health, crop status, environmental and overall field conditions, and remote access to machinery.
  • Variable Rate Technology (VRT) systems can be used to enable farmers to adjust application rates of fertilisers, pesticides and irrigation.
  • Several other new aged technologies including blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning modules and algorithms can help in upskilling the agricultural sector in the region.
  1. Smart Market Linkages: Development and designing of smart and intelligent platforms and supply chains, that can connect farmers directly to the market without any intermediaries can help boost farmer incomes and reduce post-harvest losses. Although, many Agri-tech platforms like Kisan Mandi and the government-led initiative of Kisan Suvidha are available to connect farmers to the market, but have not catered for much of the usage among the farmers of the UT.
  2. Educational Initiatives: Agri-tech startups can also develop applications and platforms that can make farmers aware of the new technologies and practices to promote technological advancement and upskilling of farmers in the region.

There is a compelling need to tap into these underutilized Agri-tech startups for several reasons. Seizing these prospects within Agri-tech startups holds the potential to bring about a substantial positive transformation in the region’s agriculture. The entrepreneurs venturing into the field of Agri-tech can find a good market of opportunities in Jammu and Kashmir. This endeavour offers the opportunity to diversify the economy, reduce dependency on volatile sectors, and create employment avenues. Moreover, this startup can address pressing agricultural challenges, enhance productivity, and increase farmers’ income. Embracing sustainability aligns with global trends and positions your venture as an eco-friendly and responsible contributor to the agricultural landscape in the region.

Strategies to encash the real treasure of Agri Tech Startups 

The younger entrepreneurs venturing into Agri-tech startups need to take these suggestions and inputs in consideration for the growth and development of their ventures. First and foremost is skill, creativity and out-of-the-box mindset. Gather adequate knowledge and expertise essential for the venture and understand the need and applications of above mentioned untapped opportunities in the field. Furthermore, try to develop partnerships, connections and engagements with the associations, institutes, Incubators and government agencies for the concerned field as they can be an invaluable source of support and resources, enhancing the prospectus of success. Also, seeking funds from government schemes and private investors interested in supporting Agri-tech ventures and securing the necessary capital pivotal for the growth of the startup. Lastly, craft the Agri-tech solutions that are economically and practically accessible to the farming community aligning with their unique requirements and aspirations.

Conclusion

 Agri-tech startups have the potential to transform agriculture in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir. These startups can contribute to the economic development of the Union Territory and improve the livelihoods of the farming community. Also, the convergence of Agri-tech startups and precision farming practices promises a brighter future for the farmer community, the Union Territory, and entrepreneurs in Jammu & Kashmir. As these innovative practices are embraced, the region can emerge as a beacon of how technology can transform traditional agriculture, ushering in a new era of prosperity and development.

There are a number of incubators in India to support Agri-tech startups but in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, SKUAST Kashmir Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship Centre, one of the brands in incubation is working to build up an ecosystem of Agri-Tech based startups by supporting them in every aspect.

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