Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said that the government would provide Rs 1 lakh each to 1500 Self Help Groups, build 1000 sheds for the tribal community’s livestock, and provide Rs 3 lakh each to 50 Self Help Groups for generator sets and solar-based shearing machines for Dhoks.
An official spokesman in a statement issued here said that inaugurating a workshop on ‘New Horizons in Sheep and Goat Husbandry among Tribal Community: Challenges and Opportunities’ here at SKICC, the LG while addressing the demands and issues of the tribal community announced that the J&K government would build 1000 sheds for livestock of the tribal community.
He announced that the Tribal Affairs Department would extend financial assistance of Rs 1 lakh each to 1500 Self Help Groups for wool shearing machines and skilling.
“A total of 50 Self Help Groups will receive Rs 3 lakh each for GenSet and solar-power based shearing machines for Dhoks,” the LG said.
He also shared the government’s plan for bringing out a scheme for social security for sheep breeders and providing insurance cover to the livestock.
“A comprehensive policy will also be prepared for health cards and monitoring of health for disease prevention and control measures,” the LG said.
He congratulated the J&K Advisory Board for Development of Kisans and J&K’s Sheep Husbandry Department for organising the important workshop to explore new opportunities, and identifying necessary interventions to make the sheep and goat husbandry sector more lucrative for the stakeholders.
“The outcome from today’s brainstorming session of agricultural scientists, experts, and tribal community members will be assessed objectively and incorporated in government policies to be implemented on the ground for benefit of all the stakeholders,” the LG said.
“We aim to increase livestock productivity and production sustainably and focus on untapped potential for the export and value-added products,” he said. “High genetic potential breeds of sheep, exotic breeds for crossbreeding, marketing facilities, and preventive mechanisms of endemic disease problems will bring overall improvement in the sheep rearing sector and improve socio-economic status of a vast majority of our livestock producers.”
The LG highlighted the reforms introduced by the government for modernisation and promotion of the sheep farming sector and strengthening of commercial activities and output of the sector which provides the means of livelihood to about 12 lakh families in J&K.
He said J&K holds the distinction of having the highest per capita consumption of sheep and goat meat in the country and to meet this huge demand imports around 40 percent of requirements from other states.
“This huge demand of sheep and goat meat by our people is more of an opportunity than a challenge as it offers huge scope for the sheep and goat farmers,” the LG said.
He said that the J&K government had partnered with New Zealand to develop a model sheep farming system through better breeding practices, technology transfer, doubling wool and meat production, marketing, capacity building, and ensuring additional income for sheep breeders.
The LG said that J&K had attained the privilege of having the finest breeds of sheep in the country and it was a privilege that J&K holds 50 percent of the crossbred population of the country.
“We are also the second-largest producers of wool in the country and number one in terms of quality of wool produced. Though the processing of wool has not been tapped to what it should have been, our government is concerned about it and many viable solutions are under active consideration of the government which will be brought in the public domain soon,” he said.
The LG said that a Common Facilitation Centre – one each in Kashmir and Jammu division would be established for the collection, grading, sorting, and packaging of wool.
“We have made significant achievements in the sector but the government is keen to push this sector to newer heights and plug all loopholes to make this sector more vibrant, profitable, market-driven, employable, and sustainable,” the LG said.
“Top-level Apex Committee under the chairmanship of Mangala Rai, a top scientist and a policymaker of the country has already been constituted for holistic development of agriculture and allied sector. The committee has started deliberations and is on a job to present a futuristic roadmap in the next three months for inclusive growth, value addition, marketing strategies, and sustainable production of the sector,” he said.
Advisor to Lt Governor Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar said that the LG-led J&K administration was committed to the holistic development of the tribal community of J&K.
He said that the administration was taking revolutionary reforms and various welfare measures for improving the standard of living of the members of the tribal community.
Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture Production Department, Atal Dulloo threw light on the future goals of the department for promoting the sheep rearing sector, encouraging export and marketing, and increasing wool production.
He said every possibility was being explored for tapping the vast potential of this sector.
Vice-Chancellor Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Kashmir (SKUAST-K) Prof Nazir Ahmad Ganai remembered Padma Shri Ghulam Ahmed Bandey for his valuable contribution to the sector of sheep and animal husbandry in J&K.
He also briefed on the development of the foot-rot vaccine by SKUAST-K.
The VC shared details of various other programmes and research activities being conducted in the varsity for developing vaccines and policies for wool processing.
Secretary to Government, Tribal Affairs Department Shahid Iqbal Choudhary highlighted schemes and programmes formulated for the welfare of the tribal population by the J&K administration in the last two years.
He said that 865 Tribal Asha posts had been sanctioned by the central government last month.
Director Sheep Husbandry Kashmir Bashir Ahmad Khan highlighted the achievements, services, and schemes of sheep husbandry.
“A total of 446 sheep extension centres are functional across J&K for facilitating the sheep and goat breeders,” he said.
Secretary J&K Kisan Board Abdul Hamid Wani gave a detailed introduction to the workshop.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between SKUAST Kashmir and the Department of Sheep Husbandry for the foot-rot vaccine to mitigate the suffering of animals and owners of the livestock.
Progressive farmers and entrepreneurs also shared their success stories.
Member of J&K Kisan Board Chaudhary Muhammad expressed gratitude to the LG-led J&K administration for implementing farmers-centric progressive policies.
A detailed presentation was given on the evolution of sheep husbandry in Kashmir.
A documentary on tribal people and the seasonal migrating nomadic population associated with sheep and goat rearing was also screened.
The LG inspected stalls installed by various stakeholders and also released various publications including ‘Sheep Breeders’ Diary’ and ‘Sheep Breeders’ Manual’.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Pandurang K Pole and Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Muhammad Aijaz were also present on the occasion.