Australian Merino to exotic crossbreeds: Sheep farming startups to make J&K self-sufficient in mutton production
Srinagar: From imported Australian Merino to highly exotic crossbreeds, Jammu and Kashmir government is promoting sheep farming startups to make union territory self-sufficient in mutton production.
An official document accessed by The Kashmir Monitor reveals that J&K on average consumes 500 to 600 lakh kilograms of mutton annually. Of which local production is about 300 to 350 lakh kilograms. The rest of the mutton is being imported from neighboring states.
Under Integrated Sheep Development Program 2020-21 the government targets to supplement mutton production and build entrepreneurship in the sector.
The document claims that the department during 2020-21 established 882 and 201 units at a cost of Rs 11.25 crore in Jammu and Kashmir which created direct employment for 1083 people.
“Department also established 290 sheep/goat units under other CSS/UT sector schemes creating employment for another 290 people,” it said.
Moreover, to raise exotic high-quality breeds, the department recorded more than 300 pure merino lamb births from the elite merino sheep imported from Australia.
Document said that additionally, 300 more lambs were born by crossing Australian sheep with Kashmir Merino.
“Department purchased and distributed 2300 elite rams/bucks under CSS-NLM for genetic up-gradation of livestock in the private sector, besides around 1000 rams/bucks were produced from Government farms of the UT and distributed to livestock farmers for genetic up gradation of their livestock,” it said.
Under Integrated Sheep Development Program scheme sheep/goat units are established on participatory mode wherein livestock is given free of cost to the beneficiaries and thereafter the given livestock is retrieved in a phased manner over a period of 5 years from the beneficiary and utilized for fresh units.
Pertinently, the valley witnessed a shortage of mutton due to the rift between mutton dealers over fixation of price early this year.
An official from the sheep husbandry department told The Kashmir Monitor that the government is trying to motivating more and more youth to establish their units.
“The department is providing assistance to the beneficiary. Moreover, there is a subsidy as well so that sheep units are established at a mass scale to make the valley self-sufficient in mutton production,” he said.