SAC approves state livestock breeding policy

In a significant decision, the State Administrative Council (SAC) which met here on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Governor Satya Pal Malik has approved the Jammu and Kashmir State Livestock Breeding Policy, 2019.

First of its kind in the state, the policy aims to give focused attention to increase in both the production and productivity of livestock (cattle, sheep, goat), fish and poultry in the state with the ultimate motto of higher returns for the people engaged in this sector, an official spokesperson said.

The livestock sector contributes to 33.63 percent of the agriculture GDP of the state. As per the estimates, 73 percent of the state population live in the rural areas and is associated with livestock rearing. The sector also provides direct/indirect employment to 20 lakh families.

“The livestock population has been showing a declining trend due to rapid urbanisation/shrinking of fodder land; with the State having to pay huge bills in importing livestock products. It is on this account; a need for a Policy has been felt to ensure sustainable development of livestock population on scientific lines,” the spokesperson said.

The policy will not only help to achieve self-sufficiency in livestock products, reduce import bills but also expand employment opportunities by doubling farmers’ income during next 5 to 10 years. In addition, the Policy will promote research and developmental initiatives in the livestock sector.

It envisages improvement of the genetic potential of local livestock by grading/cross-breeding with superior exotic germ plasma wherever required and conservation of indigenous breeds. The policy will stimulate the growth and nurture institutions in the State to generate quality breeding inputs for a sustainable livestock development, without any detriment to the eco-system.

It also envisages introducing new livestock breeds like Mount billiard and Braunvieh cattle on pilot basis as these breeds have better adaptability in hilly temperate regions with less fodder requirement.

The policy further envisages development of poultry sector, especially backyard poultry, augmentation of production and productivity of both capture and culture fisheries, modernization of fish hatcheries, scientific breeding of Rainbow Trout, Carps, Fish Species and rejuvenation of the endangered Mahseer fish.

The Policy lays a special focus on sustainable genetic improvement of bovines. With the implementation of the Policy, the annual milk production is expected to reach to 5037 TMT approximately within five years. The policy shall promote dual purpose sheep breeds for achieving self sufficiency in mutton, besides import of Ramboilet and Merino sheep will improve growth rate/carcass weight and stop inbreeding depression.