Predicament and Promise

Why the potential of the pastoral economy is not realised

SHEEP HUSBANDRY

ZAHOOR KHANDAY

Very few people are aware that more than one out of 3 persons in our State is dependent on livestock sector for liveliohood or income support. With a tribal population of more than 26 lacs primarily dependent on livestock, especially sheep and goat one wonders why this sector has been deproritized! Why is it that the offices of the most of unproductive departments are in great shape while as there are either no offices worth the name or rental buildings and an infrastructure that even sheep may find below their dignity to use? Why are those associated with sheeep sector generally poor? Why are there no breeder societies and little social securities for breeders? Why is so little technical input provided due to nondevelopment of quality research institutions to address their problems?
On Eid days lot of people ask what is sheep husbandry department doing. To answer this question we need to see the situation at ground level. Being an officer in sheep husbandary department is least enviable position.  These officers have to manage a deficient staff and sometimes ensure round the clock supervisioin and spend a lot of money from their pockets to run the show. They have to hire a Sheep Extension Centre for Rs 100/Month and even the District Office for Rs 2000 or 2500. How can you expect a Govt employee to work in a rental building with rental charges of 100/month and how can you expect the district offices to be fully equipped with availability of two or three rooms only? There are no shelter sheds on the way to or from bahaks or in bahaks leading to huge risk.
The staff has little to offer to breeders in terms of medicines. They have nothing to offer to breeders in terms of feeding govt rams with them. They have no permanent shelters for themselves or valuable government livestock at highland pastures. They have no incentives for farm duties. They have no risk allowance to take care of financial costs incurred on treating diseases for which they are more susceptible. VASs have been burdened with clerical duties. Huge deficit of techincal staff is making service delivery quite difficult.  The department receives paltry funds compared to nonproductive departments like R&B. Its infrastructure has been reducing rather than expanding from last many years. Its contribution, despite all odds, has been tremendous and its best witnesses are current figures of both population and its quality. Its services are exemplery that can’t be affected by strikes or inclement conditions. Its staff has to accompany animals in bahaks. Its technical staff delivers door to door service – a model worthy of emulation by other departments. Pastures have been disappearing at an alarming rate. No wonder we are not growing at the rate desirable and lot of employment opportunities are not being cashed.
What could be done? Wat is needed is nothing short of radical revisionong of all aspects from adminstrative to policies. The definition, objective, feasibility cum suitability and the practical applicability and the ground achievements of various
state/centrally sponsored schemes need to be taken care of. Impact of the policy of closing feeding centers of rams is – to give only one example – too huge to be ignored in future.  Qualified vets should be posted to places where they can render their technical duties rather than behaving junior clerks with files and computers in front of them. Keeping Vetty. Asstt. Surgeons as Technical Officers in District Offices is no fun while leaving the Block Veterinary Offices at the mercy of Flock Supervisors or Stock Assistants or even Asstt. Stock-Men. We need veterinary ambulatory clinical van at every block.

Government Schemes:
People need to avail existing schemes offered by the Department. Such schemes include
• RKVY in which 25 ewes are provided to the beneficiary free of cost and later on 5 females/year among the progeny stock are retrieved from the beneficiary after third year of establishment of unit for a period of 5 years after which  the parent cum progeny stock is the beneficiaries own. The 5 females retrieved/beneficiary/year is provided to another beneficiary to set, up one more 25 ewes unit.
• Mini-Sheep –Farm-Scheme which is in collaboration with banks where the beneficiary is provided a loan of Rs 2.00 lac for purchase of 50 cross-bred ewes and Sheep Husbandry Deptt. Provides a subsidy of Rs 0.60 lac on the interest component per unit.
•  IDSRR in which the banks provide a loan of Rs 1.00 lac to beneficiary for establishment of 25 cross-bred ewes and sheep husbandry  assist  him by providing the subsidy component of Rs0.33 lac.
•  Small- Marginal-Farming -Unit, TSP unit, Backyard Farming Scheme are a few more to mention.
Although much has been achieved there is a lot yet left to be done. This can’t be done by sheep rearing community alone or by Sheep Husbandry Deptt. Only, but can be achieved when Sheep Rearing community, Sheep Husbandry Deptt, Administrators related with this Deptt. and the political heads governing this sector work in tandem.

(Ideas expressed author’s own and not of the department he works for. Feedback at Zhrkhanday27@gmail.com)

Lastupdate on : Tue, 30 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 30 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 31 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST




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