Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti today asked the veterinarians and scientists of SKUAST to brainstorm on the status of livestock management in the State and suggest measures by which the dependence on import of mutton and chicken is reduced and Jammu & Kashmir achieves self-sufficiency in this sector.
Inaugurating a national symposium on livestock management and production at SKUAST-K here, the Chief Minister wondered that livestock management in the State could not be developed as an independent sector of economy over the decades and has always been treated as a subsidiary to agriculture and horticulture sectors. She said the sector needs to be developed on modern lines in tune with scientific advancements and given its huge scope in changing the profile of rural economy.
Mehbooba Mufti said every year the State has to import hundreds of crores of rupees worth mutton and chicken and if appropriated interventions at policy, research and execution are made, this draining out of wealth could be minimized and hundreds of youth could be engaged in gainful employment. She said Jammu & Kashmir has livestock friendly climate and topography and asked the scientists and experts at SKUAST to suggest how these friendly features are factored in to improve livestock production in the State.
The Chief Minister said efforts need to be made collectively by the researchers and executors to give the sector a greater acceptability in terms of economic viability, job creations, production scale and ideal conditions in the State for the sector. She said the livestock business is already being practiced by around one-fourth of the State’s population and it contributes around 11% to State’s domestic produce. This, she said, is the silver lining from where the sector can be expanded, particularly among youth, and promoted. “In this whole, SKUAST has a critical role to play,” the Chief Minister said.
Mehbooba Mufti said the theme of the symposium is very relevant to the emerging demands of the sector. She asked the scientists attending the symposium to deliberate upon areas like impact of climate change in terms of quality of the produce, fodder and food availability, animal health concerns, value addition in the production etc. and come up with recommendations to be implemented by the executing agencies.
The Chief Minister on the occasion honoured several nationally acclaimed scientists and veterinarians, some of whom are attending the symposium.
The Chief Minister also released a souvenir and Book of Abstracts of the symposium on the occasion. She also released a book-Profitable Sheep Farming-written by a SKUAST-K faculty member, Prof. Z. A. Pampori.
Minister for Animal & Sheep Husbandry, Abdul Ghani Kohli in his address also impressed upon the scientist community to come up with specific recommendations for giving livestock management in the State a boost. He stressed on bridging the gap between research and practice in livestock management to achieve optimum results.
Around 25 scientists, scholars and academicians are attending the symposium in which around 30 research papers on varied aspects of livestock development are expected to be presented.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Nazeer Ahmad outlined the broad contours of the symposium.
President, Indian Society of Animal Production & Management, Prof. Subranshu Pan also addressed the inaugural session.
On her arrival, the Chief Minister was accorded a warm welcome by the students, faculty and delegates attending the symposium.
Commissioner-Secretary, Animal & Sheep Husbandry, Raj Kumar Bhagat; Dean, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, Prof.(Dr.) Sarafaraz Wani, eminent scientists from within and outside the State, faculty members of SKUAST, scholars and students were present on the occasion.