SRINAGAR: Self-sufficiency in mutton, wool and milk production is the easiest to achieve among the consumables Jammu and Kashmir has the potential to produce. However despite the state having its own Sheep Husbandry Department, which is meant for improving sheep breeds and increasing yields, its production has decreased since 2011.
According to the latest report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), the department could not achieve its stated objectives of improving the stock of livestock and augmenting production of milk, wool and mutton.
“The shortfall in production of rams and bucks with reference to projected requirements ranged between 76 to 97 percent while there was excess mortality rate of 10 to 18 percent in six breeding farms,” the report said.
“There was decreasing trend in yield of wool, mutton and milk during the period 2011-12 to2015-16,” the report added.
The report said that the livestock position had shown a decreasing trend, and the population had decreased from 12,098 in 2011-12 to 10,265 in 2015-16. It was mainly due to the non-import of fresh breeds and non-upgrading of farm infrastructure. Similarly, the audit report noticed a decreasing trend in average wool and milk production. The wool production has remained less than 2.5 kg per sheep, which is below the standard form. The average milk production has reduced to .132 litres per animal from .357 litres.
Though, according to the report, departmental authorities attributed the shortfalls to lack of requisite infrastructure, climatic variations and inbreeding, but steps to mitigate the situation and address the shortcomings were not evident.
The reason was that the department had not fully utilised funds meant for increase in production.
“The unutilised funds increased from Rs 7.38 lakh in 2011-12 to Rs 98.58 lakh in 2015-16,” the report said.
If the state was to enhance the production of mutton equal to the requirement, it would plug the flight of at least Rs 5 crore outside the state on a daily basis, says Manzoor Kanoon, president of mutton dealers in the Kashmir Valley.