Kashmir's white revolution flows from this centre

Ranbirbagh between Wandhama and Reipora in this district has carved out a niche for itself in the white revolution of Kashmir.

The village was selected way back in 1970s by the then government for a centre of artificial semination to enhance milk production in the cows.

The centre, which also caters to Ladakh, was established under Indo-Danish collaboration. “It was through this center that Jersey breed of cows was first introduced in Kashmir,” officials said.

The centre uses frozen semen technology— an advanced version of the 1990s liquid semen technology. “At present we have got French technology,” Dr Sajjad Ahmad Darzi, who is also animal management officer at the facility, said.

There are 81 bulls of varied breeds including Holstein, Red Sindhi and their cross breeds reared at the center.  “Bulls play a major role in increasing milk production in cows. Bull is half of the herd,” said Dr Naem Banday, who is also quality control officer at the centre.

Besides, swathes of land at the centre are used for cultivation of fodder including oats during winter, which are harvested in spring. “The MP Charie, a type of grass along with corn is cultivated in spring, which is subsequently harvested before winter,” the officials said. Dr Darzi said that it was topography of the place—free of air and noise pollution— that made it fit for artificial insemination center. “This is a bio-secure area. There is no scope for air or noise pollution. Any contamination at the place will wreak havoc on Kashmir’s herd population. There are restrictions at the place, especially laboratory area,” Dr Darzi said.

Besides, the area is well irrigated as Lar canal from Haripora to Safapora runs uphill, and Dab canal running downwards makes the area’s soil rich of nutrients.

As per official estimates, the center produces five to six lakh straws on an average, with highest seven lakh straws produced last year.  One dose or straw of artificial insemination of a cow costs Rs 30 to a farmer. The center is run by the department of Animal Husbandry in collaboration with Livestock Development Board (LDB). The straws produced at the center are sent to LDB office at Shalteng, and subsequently distributed to nearly 700 field centres across Kashmir districts.  “We have assessment of 40-45 percent success rate,” claims Dr Darzi.

But there is a concern that of losing the land of the centre to the development projects. “Already some 20 to 30 kanals of the center got under highway. I hope it is the end,” says Mohammad Ashraf Qureshi of Wandhama.