Srinagar: After a major outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in livestock in Kashmir this year, the government has kick-started the vaccination programme to counter the disease.
An official said that the vaccination programme has started under the union government’s National Animal Disease Control program (NADCP) and will cover the livestock so that the deadly disease can be kept in check.
“This will be the second round of NADCP which has been launched to counter the foot and mouth disease in particular. This year the outbreak had a major effect on the livestock with losses inflicted on the farmers.Today the animal husbandry department of Kashmir formally launched the programme from Srinagar,” said the official.
The officials said that the department is starting the massive programme in all other districts of Kashmir. They said that pre-vaccination sampling has been started in all other districts in full swing and daily updates about the programme will be sought from all the districts in Kashmir to monitor the progress.
The farmers said that in mid-2021 they faced a huge outbreak of FMD in cattle and sheep. Most of them said that vaccination was not done which made things worse. For months there was a major outbreak around various districts in Kashmir. Central Kashmir’s Budgam and south Kashmir’s Pulwama reported a high number of cases this year. As per the data, until ending July around 18,000 cattle were reported to have been infected by FMD in Kashmir.
“This year I lost two cattle to FMD, there was a huge outbreak in Srinagar outskirts. Many farmers who own multiple cattle and earn their livelihood from selling milk but as the disease out broke every farmer was in distress. In areas like Gasoo, Batapora, Mulphaq, Burzahama and Khimber, dozens of cattle fell to the disease. The vaccination programme was nowhere to be seen this year, we hope now the government will make sure to cover all the livestock under vaccination so that we won’t face losses,” said Abdul Wahab, a farmer from the Batapora area of Hazratbal outskirts. Some said that sheep husbandry should also take up the vaccination programme seriously so that they don’t face losses.
Manzoor Ahmed, who owns sheep in Chadoora area of Budgam said that all his 35 sheep were infected with FMD this year. “I lost five sheep to the disease. We hope that the sheep department will leave no stone unturned this year and vaccinate our livestock. We are dependent on this and we hope that our livelihood will be saved. I borrowed a loan from the bank and then FMD inflicted huge losses on me. That should not be repeated and we hope the government will give all the facilities to the farmers,” Ahmed said.
Director Sheep Husbandry Kashmir, Bashir Ahmed Khan said that the programme of vaccination will proceed under the government of India’s NADCP and they will soon cover all the sheep population in Kashmir under vaccination. “The animal husbandry department has started the vaccination programme. We are also going to start in a well-organized way. All the districts will be bought under vaccination cover so that FMD can be kept in check,” Khan said.
In recent years many youngsters are taking up dairy farming to earn. Some of these youngsters said if the issues like FMD are not checked by the government it can discourage them. They said proper medication and vaccination are vital so that they do not face losses in the coming year.