The changing climate
The speed is alarming. Let's be concerned
ENVIRONMENT BY DR. RAM CHANDER SHARMA
The unexpected weather behaviour during April this year in the North India especially in the mountainous Jammu and Kashmir has already left an indelible mark on the future agricultural production especially the animal production – a major engine of economic growth and dependence of people on this activity. The entire Jammu province is passing through a major drought with failed agricultural production and pre-ponement of migration of nomads with their herds of animals to Kashmir valley alpines for greener pastures. Tragedy struck a nomadic Bakerwal family on 22nd of April on the highland pasture in Kulgam district when five of their family member perished along with their sheep in incessant rains and hailstorm. Kashmir received heavy rains with the river Jhelum was touching danger mark. Now the climate change is here with cycles of droughts and floods and melting of glaciers. The biggest challenge before the humanity is to how to slow down the process of climate change all over the globe.
Rearing domestic animals is prehistoric activity of people of Jammu and Kashmir. The government is supporting animal sector with twin departments of animal/sheep husbandry by prevention of contagious diseased, controlling the outbreaks of diseases, improving/up gradation of breeds, training farmers for rearing animals on modern scientific lines and even providing round the year veterinary services during the migration of animals en-route and on alpine pastures with mobile veterinary dispensaries. During this years budget the government has identified the importance of this sector in generation of employment and raising the socio-economic standard of the people residing in the rural and inaccessible areas. There are major projects in the pipe line like establishment of mini sheep farms across the state, establishment of poultry units and dairy units. Govt has already exempted duty on the import of day old poultry chicks feed and fodder from outside the state to give boost to this sector. The mobile veterinary ambulance service in each district will soon be a reality.
With all these inputs and increase in the budgetary allocations the real issue is disaster management preparedness in natural calamities’ like encountered recently. The government has to prepare a plan to support animal sector and its sustainable growth for a period till 2020 so that a state which imports live animals and animal products worth Rs 2000 cr every year from outside the state can become a major exporter of the animal products in next decade. The major limiting factor is the availability of cheap and nutritious feed and fodder round the year and in case of drought and heavy snow falls. The establishment of fodder banks in each block, encouraging farmers with incentive to cultivate fast growing varieties of fodder species including pasture development and plantation of perennial grasses on forest land. The climate change will create water shortages and government has to give priority to tap water resources including the rain water harvesting for irrigation purpose. The flagship central government scheme NEREGA can be integrated and coordinated for establishment of minor irrigation schemes. The new emerging diseases associated with rise of temperature like vector born diseased both in humans and animals will raise the medical bills of farmers.
India is silently experiencing Pink Revolution (production of meat) and as per the forecast of the experts we will be the largest exporter of meat and meat products in the world. Meat production, processing and value addition is a lucrative business of many developed countries. The new practice is the industrial production of meat by rearing animal inside the farms where animals never see the light of day. The idea is production of meat from gate to plate. Now there are animal breeds which grow at a faster rate on stall feeding. The private entrepreneurs must be encouraged to establish animal farms on the periphery of cities and towns. The existing two sister departments of animal and sheep husbandry must be allowed to treat all kinds of animals in their jurisdiction and where ever there is overlapping the units must be relocated to cover the uncovered areas.
The government of Jammu and Kashmir has no established a transparent and time bound transfer and promotion policy. Many of the senior positions and provincial, district and block level are not filled timely due to delay in promotion or transfer orders from the concerned ministry or the department. The far flung areas suffer as the official due to their influence never join there. The veterinarians and Para veterinarians perform duties in remote areas and in animal farms round the clock. Government must come with a transparent transfer policy like one year farm duty tenure and those posted in farms be shifted to field periodically.
Jammu and Kashmir differs climatically and geographically with wide range of flora and fauna. Presently there are two veterinary colleges under SKUAST Jammu and SKUAST Kashmir. There is urgent need of establishment of Veterinary University for training and research.
(Dr. Ram Chander Sharma is a practicing veterinarian and sustainable Dev Specialist. Feedback at email@example.com)
Lastupdate on : Thu, 29 Apr 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 29 Apr 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 30 Apr 2010 00:00:00 IST
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