From Homemaker to Entrepreneur: Asiya Begum’s Inspiring Journey in Indoor Mushroom Cultivation and Rooftop Vegetable Farming

Tauseef Ahmad,

Srinagar: In a region where unemployment among youth is a pressing issue, Asiya Begum, a 29-year-old woman from North Kashmir, has emerged as a beacon of inspiration. Through her innovative indoor mushroom farming techniques and rooftop vegetable cultivation, she has not only gained recognition but also established a thriving livelihood.

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Living in the quaint village of Lankrishipora in Bandipora district, about 60 kilometers away from the summer capital of Srinagar, Asiya has shattered stereotypes. Traditionally, women in her area were confined to household chores and menial tasks like collecting chestnuts and selling fish in local markets. However, her entrepreneurial spirit has transcended these boundaries, earning her more than Rs 35,000 every month.

Her success story serves as a role model for many unemployed girls in the region, demonstrating that with determination and innovation, one can break free from traditional roles and forge a path towards financial independence.

“These days, many educated girls find themselves unemployed despite being educated. Limited employment opportunities in the Kashmir valley, coupled with societal barriers, often confine them to their homes, preventing them from exploring opportunities abroad,” she told

She stressed the potential of educated girls, highlighting their comprehensive knowledge and the vast resources available through digital technology. “With access to digital resources, there is no limit to what educated girls can achieve. They possess the skills and capability to excel in various fields and surpass the current limitations,” she added.

Indoor Mushroom Cultivation

“It takes about three months for the mushrooms to be ready for harvest. Initially, I need to water the packets daily, but once the seeds start sprouting, I just need to monitor the room temperature,” she elaborated.

She also mentioned that she practices indoor mushroom cultivation throughout the year, which provides a steady source of income. “Those who used to mock me are now regular customers, buying mushrooms and fresh vegetables from me every day. On an average, I sell about 70-80 kilograms of mushrooms to street vendors and neighbors each month,” she claimed.

A Backbone for Family

Aasiya’s father emphasized parents need to support their children equally in their efforts.

“If you have resources, it is not important that your child needs to do a government job. She apart from supporting her family is expanding her business with every passing day. At present, she is working to expand the mushroom farming where she can provide employment opportunities to around 10 girls,” he said.

He further added crime against women is increasing these days; and therefore, sending a girl child outside is not easy for parents, especially for rural areas.

“If you support your farming and other businesses at their homes, they can do much better than boys and support their families,” he opined.

A Dream to Do Something Different

Aasiya’s formal education ended at ninth grade due to limited resources, but now, by venturing into independence, she aims to provide her children with all the opportunities she herself missed out on.

“My goal now is to support my daughters and fulfill my own dreams by providing them with every opportunity. In rural areas, girls often lack access to facilities, but with a mother’s support, they can reach great heights,” she expressed.

She said she earns Rs 30,000 from mushroom sales alone. In addition, she also cultivates vegetables, selling them to local vendors and neighbors, and takes pride in sustaining her family.

“I have also started growing medicinal plants on the rooftop of my house. While I have limited knowledge passed down from my father, I aim to provide these beneficial plants to those in need, as they offer remedies for various ailments,” she said.

Looking ahead, Aasiya plans to expand her indoor mushroom farming and venture into saffron cultivation, a once-thriving crop in the Kashmir valley now facing environmental challenges.

She believes in preserving local resources and heritage, recognizing the global recognition their production and culture bring to the region.

Her success in indoor mushroom farming not only ensures financial stability for her family but also inspires hope in other young women in her community. With ambitious plans for expansion, she emphasizes the importance of empowering local resources.

“If we support our daughters and offer them opportunities, they can achieve anything. I want every girl in my village to believe that they can reach for the stars,” she proudly declared.