More impetus needed
Kashmir has got a High Altitude Disease Investigation Laboratory in Sonamarg that is bound to provide better and timely treatment to livestock in hilly areas. This facility is the first of its kind in the region.
The facility in the Sonamarg will provide timely and better treatment to the livestock which graze in the meadows of the hill station. The laboratory which has come up at a cost of Rs 77 lakh will have pathology division, microbiology division, virology division, serology and microbiology division.
The facility shall help to reduce the time consumed by laboratory reports to reach field veterinarians in the plains by with the result treatment of the animals will commence days earlier, reducing the course of the ailment and saving the time and resources of treatment.
Notably, Jammu and Kashmir despite being earmarked for livestock development by nature and the state’s policy, is still far behind in livestock development. Though the per capita consumption of meat, poultry and milk is higher in J&K than other Indian states Jammu and Kashmir is deficient in meat, poultry, eggs and milk production thus making state to heavily rely on imports from other states.
The state which should export livestock and livestock products is still importing the same worth hundreds of crores annually from different states, like Punjab and Rajasthan. The state is importing near about 14 lakh sheep annually contributing about 280 lac kgs of mutton.
The import costs a whooping 7160 million rupees to the state. The mutton requirement to state is about 1121.78 lakh kgs but despite all the efforts the state produces only 300.62 lakh kgs and are deficient by 821.16 lakh kgs.
Jammu and Kashmir imports 382 lakh Day old chicken annually draining an income of about 764 million rupees. We are importing about 59.18 lakh broilers, 18.14 lakh layers, 5.03 lakh parents, and 153.86 lakh eggs annually which amounts to about 935.208 million rupees. In milk production JK has reached near to self sufficiency but still lagging behind Punjab and other states.
JK is a green state, but then facts and figures reflect a failure that we have been in terms of producing surplus milk that would not only suffice our needs but also help in establishing dairy based industry here.
The fact remains that despite availability of natural pastures the State is 67% deficient in green fodder and 27.31% in dry fodder. Most of the concentrates for livestock and poultry feeding are imported. Our breeders are unable to harness natural pastures and the available feeds.
The ills that have been affecting the livestock production and the sectors growth have been compounded by the wrong handling of livestock industry. Frequent practice by para-vets leads to failures of breeding policies, increased repeat breeding cases, infertility, improper diagnosis and loss of livestock lives.
The state’s 65-70% female cattle are low productive, due to indiscriminate breeding and neglect, thereby turning dairy husbandry uneconomical. Poor quality bulls used for semen collection and poor semen freezing facilities further affect the productivity of cattle and buffaloes.
The state needs to bring in breeding policies and data on performance should be scientifically handled so that good native breeds are not only preserved but propagated. Besides, the use of scientific and modern ways for breeding industry need to be made available to the breeders. This only can help in brining the much needed reforms in the sector.