SRINAGAR: The State of Jammu and Kashmir is a hilly State guarded by the mighty Himalayan mountains with a complex and varied agro-climatic distribution with Kashmir province, Chenab valley and Poonch district being Temperate (Himalayan) zone while most of the Jammu falls in Subtropical zone while Ladakh division is a cold Arid desert.
Livestock rearing is an integral part of rurality of Jammu and Kashmir as the nature has bestowed the State with beautiful meadows and a conducive atmosphere for livestock farming. The natural lush green forests, pastures, meadows, grazing fields, water bodies, high and mighty mountains besides trans Himalayan cold desert of Ladakh and amusing climate of Kargil are very cordial for livestock farming. The agro-climatic conditions of Jammu and Kashmir are favourable for growth of animal sector.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir was a net exporter of live sheep, goat, desi poultry and desi ghee to the neighbouring state of Punjab at the time of independence, but there is now huge gap of demand and supply in live sheep, goat, milk, egg, feed and fodder.
The Department of Animal Husbandry aims to attain self-sufficiency in livestock products through the application of modern scientific techniques in the State. The Department ensures improvement of health and genetic potential of livestock by utilizing modern scientific tools.
Sustained efforts are being taken to attain perceptible change in economic growth of the State by boosting self-employment and entrepreneurship in the sector.
As per the 19th Livestock Census conducted in year 2012 there was steady increase of livestock population in Jammu and Kashmir except in Ladakh region. Jammu and Kashmir is at fifth position in sheep population, first in yak population, second in horse/ponies/mule, sixth in donkey and 17th in poultry.
With the strenuous efforts of the present dispensation, the livestock is emerging as an important sector in enhancing the economy of Jammu and Kashmir and has a potential to play a pivotal role in the socio-economic development of the State. About 80% population of the State lives in the rural areas and most of them are directly or indirectly involved in livestock farming. It will go without saying that about 60% of the State’s revenue is generated by the agriculture and animal husbandry sectors.
Dairying is a potential source of additional income for the rural people of the State. The contribution of dairying sector to the state’s income is invaluable. This sector has changed the shape of the ruralities in last two decades to a large extent. In other words, this sector helps in increasing the crop production by providing the drag power, organic manure and cash income on a regular basis.
Although Pulwama in Kashmir and R.S.Pora in Jammu have ranked first in milk production but the productivity of milk has increased manifold in other districts also and maximum milk is produced in the selected parts of the State.
The Department of Animal Husbandry of Jammu and Kashmir emphasizes on enhancement of productivity to increase domestic production. The Department is striving for genetic up-gradation with focus on veterinary healthcare besides organizing commercial sheep farming. Availability of quality germ-plasm forms the basis of any such plan to enhance the productivity.
Frozen Semen Project Ranbirbagh, Kashmir and Frozen semen Lab Hakkal, Jammu were conferred Grade “B” by the Central Monitoring Unit during 2015-16 and 2016-17 respectively, making them among a few select labs in India to have Grade B.
The Department has taken up construction of 131 veterinary institutions since 2010-11 and in the current year the emphasis of the department is on completion of 60 buildings taken up under RIDF XVI to XX. The Government of India sanctioned 229 buildings 70 hospital and 159 veterinary dispensaries at a cost of Rs28.87 crore under the scheme ‘Establishment and Strengthening of Veterinary Hospitals and Dispensaries’ (ESVHD) in the current financial year. Around 135 buildings have been taken up against the released 1st instalment of Rs 12.49 crore.
The buildings are expected to be completed during the current financial year. Mobile Veterinary centres Animal Husbandry Jammu 71, Animal Husbandry Kashmir 25, Sheep Husbandry Jammu 09 and Sheep Husbandry Kashmir 10 have been sanctioned during the year. The mobile ambulatory vehicles shall be fitted with GPS, so as to rationalize and monitor the services to be delivered by the mobile centres.
It is the endeavour of the present dispensation to provide alternate means and avenues of employment to the youth of the State. The livestock sector has the potential in addressing the unemployment issues to a large extent in the State. By adopting latest practices and innovations in the field the sector is feasible for entrepreneurship and other commercial activities which can improve the economic conditions of the people and provide a boost to the economy of Jammu and Kashmir.