PATNA: Animal and fisheries resources department secretary N Vijayalakshmi on Thursday encouraged women entrepreneurs in rural areas to learn skills like cattle rearing and fish, poultry and dairy farming. Addressing the inaugural ceremony of Bihar Mahila Udyog Mela organized by the Bihar Mahila Udyog Sangh (BMUS) at the Planetarium on Thursday, Vijayalakshmi, who is also the managing director of Women Development Corporation (WDC), said the department would soon provide skill development classes on fisheries, poultry and cattle under the Bihar Skill Development Mission. “The animal husbandry sector is also focusing on generating employment opportunities for women. We can train rural women in such skills and generate employment. As far as the funding is concerned, the WDC will help women get loan for start-ups,” Vijayalakshmi said. Altogether 70 stalls, including four food stalls, have been put up by women entrepreneurs at Udyog Mela. Many of them have come all the way from Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and other districts of Bihar. BMUS president Usha Jha said, “Despite the inclement weather in Patna, the footfall of customers was good on Day 1 of the five-day fair. This time, we have two customized stalls of shoes and cakes.” The items on sale include embroidered suits, ‘Anarkali’ suits, Madhubani paintings, handmade wall hangings, artificial flowers, block-printed garments, ‘papads’, pickle, ‘sattu’, potato chips, sweets, jewellery and other home decor items. A Patna-based entrepreneur, Shazia Qaiser, is selling customized footwear for occasions like weddings and parties. “I use materials like leather, fabric, foam and rubber. Party sandals are made using ‘resham’ and ‘zari’ embroidery, stones, crystals and pearls,” she said. Another entrepreneur, Anita, has displayed Madhubani paintings as well as stone and marble sculptures in the range of Rs 1,200 to Rs 3,500. Poonam Kumari, a resident of Bank Road, bought a sari, mango pickles and some home decor items on Day 1.