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State's livestock sector dying a slow death
1/23/2018 11:36:14 PM
Ishtiyaq Ahmad

Early Times Report

SRINAGAR, Jan 23: The livestock sector in Jammu and Kashmir is decreasing with each passing day due to lack of interest shown by the government.
For a growing human population, the development of livestock sector is indispensable to address the requirements of major livestock products. From livelihood perspective, it is considered as an important instrument in poverty alleviation.
However, official documents reveal that government has not shown any concern for the uplift of the vital sector in the state. The official documents reveal that the number of livestock per 1000 of human population in Jammu and Kashmir as per 19th livestock census is 736 animals while as at all India level the number was only 409.
"The animal and sheep husbandry sector has not received the required attention from the both state and central governments despite the fact that this sector has a huge potential like in other sectors where the government provides incentives for employment generation. This sector which has a huge potential for employment generation has been ignored for such type of incentives," the documents reveal.
The documents said that the entrepreneurs are reluctant to take up activities under the sector as no attractive schemes are available from the government. "If there are some schemes available the targets are very less and also the upper ceiling of the scheme has been restricted in such a way that an entrepreneur is unable to avail employment generation for himself and for others," they read.
Secondly, the documents said that the main impediment in developing the sector is availability of fodder and reasonable rates and shrinkage of grazing areas. "In the sheep sector the livestock is fully dependent on natural grazing pastures and highland grass lands for nearly 6 to 7 months which is possible in cases such facility is made available and in case the grazing policy of the Forest Department is made entrepreneur friendly this sector has the potential to grow to large extent and shall provide employment to a large number of unemployed youth," they read.
However, due to shrinkage of grazing areas, sheep and goat are becoming dependent on the stall feeding for which the farmer has to make additional investment which makes the scheme in viable. "Same is the case with the cattle and buffalo rearing. In case we go with the present market rate of milk and the cost of the feed and the minimum feed requirement of a healthy cow the cost on rearing and the profits thereof are not much differenced. The cost of fodder in the state market is very high and by providing the minimum feed /fodder to the these animals the overall viability gets affected," documents reveal.
It has been seen that the dairy farming in the state is not taken up on commercial lines and most of the farming is performed on individual basis. "There is less employment generation and to utilize the existing infrastructure there has to be a policy from the government with regard to the providing of cheaper fodder to the dairy farmers and also development of grass lands/pastures for which the Forest Department can also be helpful in framing a farmer friendly grazing policy so that people can have access to forest land and can help the Department in development of grass lands without disturbing the basic ecology of the land," they added.
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