SRINAGAR: Livestock is one of the widely expanding sectors which has established its significance in growth and development of rural economy over the years.
The sector not only supplements income of farmers but also provides gainful employment besides meeting the vital and varied nutritional requirements of the individual. With most of the rural population involved in rearing cattle and buffaloes, the government is committed towards growth of livestock and dairy farmers.
The announcements in the 2022-23 Budget are quite transformational in approach and the increased allocations will benefit the farmers of Jammu and Kashmir manifold.
The recently announced Budget 2022-23 for J&K contains a bundle of opportunities for enhanced growth and development of every sector and Animal, Sheep and Fisheries have also been focused upon by the administration for a big boost.
The government has allocated a whopping amount of Rs 391.90 crore for Animal, Sheep Husbandry and Fisheries sector which will be instrumental towards transforming the rural economy of Jammu and Kashmir.
In a bid to tap the allied farm and food processing sectors under Integrated Dairy Development Scheme (IDDS), the budget has laid a special focus on this important secondary source of income for millions of rural families, besides providing employment and income generating opportunities.
Similarly, in a major push towards the Animal Husbandry sector, 2000 dairy units will be established creating direct employment for around 5000 people during 2022-23. Private entrepreneurs will also be extended support in the form of Bulk Milk coolers, milk processing/Paneer making machines, marketing facilities which include milk ATMs & milk transportation vans, milking machines and dairy farm waste management with focus to cover women entrepreneurs and other reserved category beneficiaries as well.
Increasing quality milk production in cattle and buffaloes is another focused area prioritized in the budget. Artificial Insemination service will be delivered free of cost at farmer’s doorsteps to 4.60 lakh breed-able dairy cows/buffaloes by conducting around 13 lakh Artificial Inseminations.
In a major push towards making Jammu and Kashmir self-sufficient in milk production, the annual milk production in J&K is expected to increase from 2505 Thousand Metric Ton to 2800 Thousand Metric Ton during 2022-23 and sufficient interventions have been incorporated in the budget.
To give a boost to animal husbandry business under Integrating Sheep Development Scheme, around 1200 sheep/goat units are to be established in J&K which will in turn create employment opportunities for around 2400 people. With an aim to promote the establishment of sheep and goat units in the union territory, 200 elite crossbred imported merino sheep will be introduced for genetic upgradation of local sheep for production of more than 8000 elite lambs. This will lead to an increase in carcass yield from prevalent 18 kg to 21 kg besides incrementing fine wool production from existing 2 Kg to 2.5 Kg per sheep.
Considering the significance of Veterinary Healthcare for the growth of livestock, 44 mobile veterinary clinics proposed are to be operationalized to provide doorstep delivery of veterinary health care and breeding services. Around 78 lakh livestock and 5 crore poultry birds will be vaccinated against different scheduled animal diseases.
With conducive agro climatic conditions and easy availability of technical inputs, Jammu-Kashmir offers immense potential for development of the poultry sector. Last two and a half decades have witnessed phenomenal vertical as well as horizontal growth of poultry and a large number of unemployed educated youth have taken up poultry farming as primary means of occupation.
Keeping in view these things, the budget will also encourage local entrepreneurs by providing 50% subsidy for starting a new poultry farm along with insurance of poultry birds, purchase of poultry farm equipment/machinery, poultry processing equipment, rendering units and poultry transportation vehicles. In addition, 35000 backyard poultry units are projected to be established in 2022-23.
The budget will also play a major role in enhancing the quality of livestock feed and fodder; this will in turn increase the productivity of the cattle and livestock. Under Integrated Fodder Development Scheme, fodder cultivation will be incentivized with establishment of fodder demonstration plots, distribution of improved fodder mini-seed kits, fodder mechanization and establishment of Cattle Feed Plants/Silage Plants/Fodder Block making machines and Hydroponic Fodder Production.
Regarding the announcement related to fisheries, fish production will be enhanced from 24,000 Metric Ton to 33,000 Metric Ton along with doubling of the trout production from 1400 Metric Ton to 2800 Metric Ton during 2022-23 with a focus to preserve and conserve bio-diversity of water bodies.
The department also envisages introduction of latest technological interventions like Biofloc and Recirculatory Aquaculture systems for the establishment of intensive fish rearing units.
The department will also step up its effort to make trout accessible to consumers throughout the country and outside to ensure higher value and focus will also be laid on establishment of fish processing and packaging units across J&K.
The budget has also kept provision for providing subsidized air freight to push trout exports to various cities and Middle East countries under PARVAZ scheme, which is a market linkage support scheme essentially launched for shipment of perishable products through air cargo. The administration also aims to launch of mass awareness campaigns with emphasis on branding of trout and promotion of its export.
In addition to all of this, special attention has been given to sericulture in the budget. In line with the budget announcement 2 Cocoon Auction Markets will be constructed for creation of marketing facilities with a provision of Rs 86.13 lakh. To promote sericulture in the UT, 400 Farmers will be provided rearing appliances to assist in rearing for increasing cocoon yield with a provision of Rs 1 crore. 5 Silkworm seed units & Chawki rearing centres for production of quality silkworm seed will be up-graded for which 1.89 crore has been kept in this budget.
The ambition of the Government and the expectations of common people have to be met coherently through productivity enhancement coupled with cost reduction, price realization and policy support. Income from a single crop or commodity will not fulfill the target of doubling farmers’ income but it has to be emulated from farm and non-farm sources. Diversification of activities which yields better remuneration (region specific) should be the ideal strategy and the recently announced budget of 2022-23 has these ingredients to diversify & revolutionize the rural economy of J&K.