Govt launches Integrated Sheep Dev Scheme in J&K

The Government of Jammu and Kashmir today launched Integrated Sheep Development Scheme 2020-21 to promote establishment of sheep and goat units in the Union Territory with formal announcement of a dedicated allocation of Rs. 10 crore under CAPEX for establishment of these units.

“Integrated Sheep Development Scheme is an innovative initiative of the government which shall supplement and complement existing and the new schemes of the Union Territory and the Centre as well”.

Elaborating further, Principal Secretary, Animal and Sheep Husbandry Department, Navin K. Choudhary, informed that sheep and goat sector is the USP of J&K which is known for Kashmir Merino and other crossbred sheep throughout the country. J&K is also a leading consumer of mutton and chevon and therefore has to rely on imports to meet the domestic demand, he added.

He informed that about half of the demand is met through imports and sheep and goats worth about Rs. 1,000 crore are imported annually from neighboring states. Although, J&K has an enormous potential and conducive environment for sheep and goat farming there is still a significant gap between demand and supply of mutton, he added. He said that keeping this in view the Government of J&K besides other interventions has launched Integrated Sheep Development Scheme to tap agro-climatic potential here besides creating avenues for self employment and bringing down the yawning gap between demand and supply of mutton.

Principal Secretary further informed that under this scheme 25/10 sheep/goats shall be provided to the beneficiaries free of cost and from 3rd year of establishment the department shall retrieve 5 or 2 ewes/does (in case of 25 and 10 sheep/goat unit respectively) from each beneficiary for next 5 years till the livestock is retrieved fully. This scheme is innovative and self sustaining as fresh units shall be established in continuous cyclic manner from the retrieved livestock of previous beneficiaries, he added.

Any individual, group of individuals, self help group, cooperative society and farmer’s producer organization can avail the benefits of this scheme. Preference shall be given for establishment of units in clusters for easy management, breeding cover and impact assessment.

Principal Secretary emphasized that the guidelines of the policy have been framed with a view to curtail administrative and procedural delays. Eligible beneficiaries can apply in the office of concerned District Sheep Husbandry Officer (DSHO), he added informing that applications after ascertaining eligibility shall be placed for approval before the committee headed by DSHO. Beneficiary must have sufficient land holding, infrastructure, fodder/grazing and manpower resources available to maintain the unit in an organized pattern, he added.

Choudhary maintained that the Scheme is expected to create ample employment avenues for youth and shall be a big step in the run for making the UT self sufficient in mutton production besides supplementing income of farmers.