I’m Shahnaz Qureshi and I am from Bathinda (Punjab). In my family there are 4 members (husband, son, and daughter) including me. I pursued M.Sc. in Fashion Designing after my marriage and got many job offers from Dubai to work in the fashion industry, but I chose to stay in my country and do something that really satisfies me from the inside.
During all these time, I also used to take care of my parents. My father and mother were suffering from common health issues like arthritis, diabetes and kidney problem. I thought that if food is the reason behind problems, then food can be the only cure. I changed the food habits and started serving only fresh and healthy food to my parents and I observed a huge difference in their health. Alongside with that I decided to enter the agribusiness field, so that I can help the unprivileged farmers of my society.
I took training from KVK Bathinda in beekeeping and started beekeeping business with 200 boxes. My husband (G.M Qureshi) supported me in this venture. I started making face wash, soap and body scrub from honey. After sometime I also took training in vegetables and fruit farming and processing and started implementing it by making chutney, murraba, and pickles.
I faced many problems also but I never get demotivated. Some of the great men like APJ Abdul Kalam, Swami Vivekanand, Bill Gates, and Akbar were my role model and thoughts and philosophies always guided me during my hard times. My daughter (Dr. Rabia Shabnam) and my son (Er. Azim Shah) were the greatest support and they also helped me a lot.
Slowly my food products created their own space in the market and I started making good profit from food processing business. In 2014 I made a farmer self-help group in Mehma Sarja village near Bathinda and through this group I promoted other farmer’s products. In 2014 I also made a firm by the name FRESH HUB and then I started selling my products under it.
Today, I has total 40-45 products in my collection, which I buys, process, pack and market herself. I’m making all these efforts just to ensure the purity and healthiness of the products so that there will be no side-effects on the customer’s health. Even when I prepare pickles, I never uses cheap vinegar and always uses apple vinegar to ensure the best quality.
In 2016 she also took vinegar training and very soon I’ll be implementing that too. Currently, my yearly profit is good enough. For marketing, I’m using WhatsApp to connect with the farmers and other necessary details. Before purchasing, I always purchase chemical free vegetables and also encourage farmers to start organic farming. I provide free information about the food processing techniques to other women, because I want other people to progress and do something good for the community.
Today my main focus is towards the youth especially the girls. To make my thinking and skills reach more people, I have also given training and information through TV, newspaper, and radio. In 2016 I also started tiffin service for college students. I also have my own radio show that is aired every Friday from 1 PM to 2 PM, where I give tips to people about water management, health food recipes and much more. I have also opened my restaurant “Shah’s Kashmiri and Mughlai Chicken” in the Bathinda city recently. I want to share every healthy, beneficial and traditional recipe that I know through my products, restaurants, and trainings.
2 acres area of orchard in Kashmir
FRESH HUB BRAND for her processed products, SHAH’S KASHMIRI AND MUGHLAI CHICKEN- RESTAURANT in Bathinda City.
Nowadays Food Processing Business is a very profitable venture. To start food processing business a person just has to take training from the nearest KVK (Krishi Vigyan Kendra) center. The training is sometime of few days and sometimes of a month depends what you want to learn. You can learn to process anything from there. Professional and experts are there who guides and suggests the right path.
Don’t blame the government all the time. Because the problems which we are facing today, for that only we are responsible. Nowadays farmers are not aware how to take advantage of the opportunities. Because if farmers want to move ahead then they have to change their thinking. Moreover, it is not necessary to follow, you can be the inspiration for others. Farmers have to understand that food processing has more money than raw material.