Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Saturday inaugurated a workshop on 'New Horizons in Sheep & Goat Husbandry among Tribal Community: Challenges & Opportunities' here at SKICC.
Addressing the demands and issues of the tribal community, the Lt Governor announced that the UT Government will build 1000 sheds for livestock of the tribal community.
The Lt Governor further announced that Tribal Affairs Department will extend the financial assistance of Rs One lakh each to 1500 Self Help Groups for Wool Shearing Machines and Skilling.
50 Self Help Groups will receive Rs 3.00 Lakh each for GenSet and solar power based shearing machines for “Dhoks”, he further added.
The Lt Governor 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, he added.
The Lt Governor congratulated the J&K Advisory Board for Development of Kisans and UT’s Sheep Husbandry Department for organizing the important workshop to explore new opportunities, and identifying necessary interventions to make the Sheep & Goat Husbandry sector more lucrative for the stakeholders.
The outcomes 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, said the Lt Governor.
Our aim is to increase livestock productivity and production in a sustainable manner and focus on untapped potential for the export and value added products, observed the Lt Governor.
High genetic potential breeds of sheep, exotic breeds for crossbreeding, marketing facilities and preventive mechanism of endemic disease problems will bring overall improvement in sheep rearing sector and improve socio-economic status of a vast majority of our livestock producers, the Lt Governor said.
The Lt Governor highlighted the reforms introduced by the government for modernization 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 the UT.
Jammu & Kashmir holds the distinction of having the highest per capita consumption of sheep/goat meat in the country and therefore to meet this huge demand we import around 40% of our requirements from other states. This huge demand of sheep/goat meat by our people is more of an opportunity than a challenge as it offers huge scope for the sheep and goat farmers, observed the Lt Governor.
The UT government has 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 Lt Governor said.
The Lt Governor observed that UT of J&K has attained the privilege of having the finest breeds of sheep in the country and it is again a privilege that we hold 50% of the cross bred population of the country in the UT.
We are also the second largest producers of wool in the country and number one in terms of quality of wool produced. Though processing of wool has not been tapped to what it should have been but our Government is very concerned about it and many viable solutions are under active consideration of the government which shall be brought into public domain very soon, said the Lt Governor.
Common Facilitation Centre - one each in Kashmir and Jammu Division will be established for collection, grading, sorting and packaging of wool, the Lt Governor announced.
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 Lt Governor observed.
Top level Apex Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr Mangala Rai, a top scientist and a policy maker of the country has already been constituted for holistic development of agriculture and allied sector. The committee has started the deliberations and is on a job to present a futuristic road map in the next three months for inclusive growth, value addition, marketing strategies and sustainable production of the sector, he further added.
Sh Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, Advisor to Lt Governor said that the Lt Governor led UT administration is committed for the holistic development of tribal community of Jammu & Kashmir. The Administration is taking revolutionary reforms and various welfare measures for improving the standard of living of the members of the tribal community, he added.
Sh Atal Dulloo, Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture Production Department, threw light on the future goals of the department for promoting sheep rearing sector, encouraging export and marketing, and increasing the wool production. He said every possibility is being explored for tapping the vast potential of this sector.
Prof Nazir Ahmad Ganai, Vice-Chancellor, SKUAST Kashmir, speaking on the occasion remembered Padma Shri Dr. Ghulam Ahmed Bandey for his valuable contribution in the sector of sheep and Animal Husbandry in Jammu Kashmir.
He also briefed on the development of Foot-rot vaccine by the SKUAST Kashmir. The VC further shared details of various other programs, research activities being conducted in the University for developing vaccines, and policies for wool processing.
Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, Secretary to Government, Tribal Affairs Department highlighted schemes and programmes formulated for the welfare of the tribal population by the UT administration in the last two years. He further informed that the 865 Tribal Asha posts have been sanctioned by the central government last month.
Sh Bashir Ahmad Khan, Director Sheep Husbandry Kashmir highlighted the achievements, services and schemes of sheep husbandry. 446 sheep extension centres are functional across the UT for facilitating the sheep and goat breeders, he informed.
Sh Abdul Hamid Wani, Secretary J&K Kisan Board gave a detailed introduction about the workshop.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between SKUAST Kashmir and Department of Sheep Husbandry for Foot-rot vaccine to mitigate the suffering of animals and owners of the livestock.
Progressive farmers and entrepreneurs also shared their success stories. Ch Mohammad, Member of J&K Kisan Board expressed gratitude to the Lt Governor led UT administration for implementing farmers-centric progressive policies.
A detailed presentation was given on the evolution of Sheep Husbandry in Kashmir. Documentary on Tribal people and seasonal migrating nomadic population associated with Sheep and Goat rearing was also shown.
The Lt Governor inspected stalls installed by various stakeholders and also released various publications including "Sheep breeders’ diary" and "Sheep breeders’ Manual" on the occasion.
Sh Pandurang K Pole, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir; Sh Mohammad Aijaz, Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar; members of J&K Advisory Board for Development of Kisans; senior officials, farmers and members of tribal community in large numbers were present on the occasion.