Editorial >

Kashmir’s livestock in shambles

[ March 07, 2017 ]
Though livestock sector is of prime importance in view of the rising demand for mutton in Kashmir but successive popular government have not taken necessary steps for promotion of this sector. In Jammu & Kashmir t sheep are mostly reared for wool and meat. Sheep skins and manure constitute important sources of earnin. Milk from sheep is of limited importance and that too in very limited hilly areas of the state.

The productivity of sheep in the state is lower than those of agriculturally advanced other states of the country. Yet considering their nutritional and physical environment, their productivity cannot be considered as inefficient. The major reasons for low productivity are inadequate grazing resources, diseases causing high mortality, morbidity and consequent reduced production, and serious lack of organized effort for bringing genetic improvement. The meat sector that contributes a lot to the economy of Jammu & Kashmir has not been organized despite knowing all about the imports being carried out in this sector. Ironically neither the Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs (FCS & CA) department not the department of sheep are yet to update the data pertaining to the entry of livestock in Kashmir valley and parts of Jammu division. Whenever meetings are conducted to review the stocks available during winter months in Kashmir valley, the official of Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution department quotes the figures collected from the meat importers. Unofficial figures suggest that Kashmir imports sheep and goats from the different states of country worth 9,000 million (900 crores) annually. Ironically the huge amount involved in the trade is being carried out in a haphazard manner. Unofficial figures suggest that people in Kashmir consume around 35 million (3.50 crores) kilograms of meat in a year.
When the calculation is done on prevailing market rates it leads that Kashmiris spend 14,000 million (1400 crores) on purchase of meat in a year. At present meat is sold at Rs. 400 per kilogram in Kashmir. With Kashmiri society being a predominantly non-vegetarian society the people involved with the grazing of sheep and goats in the country find a huge market in the valley. The suppliers of meat send the consignments of sheep from other parts of the country to valley on the demands of the local mutton dealers. Though sheep farming based on ‘zero input’, but the fear of mortality has perhaps been largely responsible for not starting many large-scale breeding farms in the state particularly Kashmir valley. However, sheep breeding farms in some parts of the Kashmir valley have successfully running for the last more than ten years. Limited attention of the sheep husbandry department to the application of the modern techniques for improving the sheep production is mainly responsible for slow growth of sheep productive in the state and more so in Kashmir valley where increase in sheep production could boost the economy in rural areas. Low level of nutrition and managerial inefficiency are the major areas of concern which require the immediate attention of the sheep husbandry department but so for the government is not according any priority to the promotion of this core sector of rural economy in the state and more so in Kashmir valley .