SRINAGAR: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha inaugurated a workshop on “New Horizons in Sheep and Goat Husbandry within the Tribal Community: Challenges and Opportunities” here at SKICC on Saturday.
Responding to requests and concerns from the tribal community, the Lieutenant Governor announced that the UT government would construct 1,000 sheds for the tribal community’s livestock.
The Lieutenant Governor further announced that the Department of Tribal Affairs will extend financial assistance of Rs One lakh each to 1500 self help groups for wool shearing machines and skills.
50 self-help groups will receive Rs 3.00 Lakh each for generator and solar powered shears for the “Dhoks”, he added.
The Lieutenant Governor also shared the government’s plan to establish a social security scheme for sheep farmers and provide insurance coverage for livestock. A comprehensive policy will also be prepared for health cards and health tracking for disease prevention and control measures, he added.
The Lieutenant Governor commended the J&K Kisans Development Advisory Board and the UT Sheep Department for organizing the important workshop to explore new opportunities and identify interventions needed to make the sector more lucrative sheep and goat farming for stakeholders.
The results of today’s brainstorming session of agricultural scientists, experts and tribal community members will be objectively evaluated and incorporated into government policies to be implemented on the ground for the benefit of all stakeholders. , said the lieutenant governor.
Our goal is to increase livestock productivity and production in a sustainable manner and focus on untapped potential for export and value-added products, observed the Lieutenant Governor.
Sheep breeds with high genetic potential, exotic breeds for cross-breeding, marketing facilities and the mechanism of preventing endemic disease problems will bring overall improvement to the sheep farming sector and improve the socio-economic status of a vast majority of our breeders,” said the Lieutenant Governor.
The Lieutenant Governor highlighted the reforms introduced by the government for the modernization and promotion of the sheep farming sector and the strengthening of business activities and production of the sector which provides livelihoods to about 12 lakh families in the UT.
Jammu and Kashmir has the distinction of having the highest consumption of sheep/goat meat per capita in the country. Therefore, to meet this huge demand, we import about 40% of our requirements from other states. This huge demand for sheep/goat meat by our people is more of an opportunity than a challenge as it provides tremendous opportunities for sheep and goat farmers, observed the Lieutenant Governor.
The UT government has partnered with New Zealand to develop a model sheep farming system through better husbandry practices, technology transfer, doubling wool and meat production, marketing, capacity building and securing additional income for sheep farmers, the lieutenant governor said.
The Lieutenant Governor observed that UT of J&K has been granted the privilege of having the finest breeds of sheep in the country and it is still a privilege that we hold 50% of the crossbred population of the country in UT.
We are also the second largest wool producer in the country and number one in terms of the quality of wool produced. Although wool processing has not been exploited to the extent it should have been, our government is very concerned about this and many viable solutions are being actively considered by the government, which will be released into the public domain very soon, said the lieutenant governor.
A joint facilitation center – one in each division of Kashmir and Jammu will be established for the collection, grading, sorting and packing of wool, the Lieutenant Governor has announced.
We have made significant achievements in the sector, but the government is keen to push this sector to new heights and close all the gaps to make this sector more vibrant, profitable, market-driven, employable and sustainable, observed Lt. -governor.
A senior high level committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Mangala Rai, a top scientist and policy maker in the country, has already been constituted for the holistic development of the agriculture and allied sector. The committee has started deliberations and is presenting a futuristic roadmap in the next three months for inclusive growth, value addition, marketing strategies and sustainable production of the sector, he added.
Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor, said that the administration of UT led by the Lieutenant Governor is committed to the holistic development of the tribal community of Jammu and Kashmir. The administration is taking groundbreaking reforms and various welfare measures to improve the living standards of tribal community members, he added.
Atal Dulloo, Additional Chief Secretary of the Agricultural Production Department, highlighted the department’s future goals to promote the sheep farming sector, encourage export and marketing and increase wool production. He said that all possibilities were being explored to exploit the vast potential of this sector.
Prof Nazir Ahmad Ganai, Vice Chancellor of SKUAST Kashmir speaking on the occasion remembered Padma Dr Ghulam Ahmed Bandey for his valuable contribution in the sheep and livestock sector in Jammu Kashmir.
He also briefed on the development of footrot vaccine by SKUAST Kashmir. The VC further shared details of various other programs, research activities carried out at the University to develop vaccines, and wool processing policies.
Dr. Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, Secretary of Government, Department of Tribal Affairs, highlighted the projects and programs formulated for the welfare of the tribal people by the administration of UT over the past two years. He further informed that the 865 posts of Tribal Asha were sanctioned by the central government last month.
Bashir Ahmad Khan, director of sheep farming in Kashmir, highlighted the sheep farming achievements, services and programs. 446 sheep extension centers are functional across UT to facilitate sheep and goat farmers, he informed.
Abdul Hamid Wani, Board Secretary of J&K Kisan gave a detailed introduction to the workshop.
A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between SKUAST Kashmir and the Department of Sheep Husbandry for Footrot Vaccine to alleviate the suffering of animals and livestock owners.
Progressive farmers and entrepreneurs also shared their success stories. J&K Kisan Board Member Ch Mohammad expressed his gratitude to the UT Administration-led Lieutenant Governor for implementing progressive farmer-centered policies.
A detailed presentation was given on the evolution of sheep farming in Kashmir. A documentary on tribal peoples and the nomadic seasonal migrant population associated with sheep and goat herding was also shown.
The Lieutenant Governor inspected the stalls set up by various stakeholders and also issued various publications including the “Sheep Farmers Journal” and the “Sheep Farmers Handbook” on this occasion.
Pandurang K Pole, Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir; Mohammad Aijaz, Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar; members of the J&K advisory board for the development of Kisans; high officials, farmers and members of the tribal community were present in large numbers on this occasion.
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