Lakhanpur Pashudhan Vyaapar Mela; a range of opportunities for the farming community
The quest to obtain the best quality livestock has always been a dream of the farming community as the sustenance of their livelihoods and sustenance relies to a large extent on agriculture and related activities such as dairy, poultry and fodder production. Keeping this in mind, the administration of UT came up with the innovative idea of organizing a livestock trade fair – “Pashudhan Vyaapar Mela” to provide a one-stop destination for selling and buying livestock quality that will strengthen J&K’s dairy business. The intent was to bring high-yielding livestock breeds to farmers’ doorsteps and dispense with the need to venture outside of UT in search of quality livestock breeds. Animal and sheep farming sector with an additional source of income for farmers, the UT administration has devised a plan to provide a one-stop platform for all stakeholders besides harnessing the full potential of J&K in the production of milk, fodder and mutton This will drastically reduce imports in addition to filling the demand and supply gap in the poultry sector and creating jobs by attracting new entrepreneurs, as mentioned by LG during the Vishal Pashudhan Vyapar Mela held in Hiranagar Kathua.
At first, the event was held on a pilot basis in Nagri and Hiranagar in Kathua district which drew an overwhelming response from the farming community in addition to livestock owners from neighboring states of Punjab, Haryana , Himachal Pradesh and others. The administration aimed to introduce the high-quality breeds of cows, buffaloes, sheep, goats, etc. and related advanced technology machinery relating to animal and sheep farming sectors. In addition, the provision of facilitating the sale/purchase of animals, awareness of all government programs for the welfare of farmers, animal health check-up, labeling and insurance of animals after the sale and purchase are also supported. Lakhanpur being the gateway to J&K is well suited as a focal point for hosting Mega Livestock Trade Fair as it is easily accessible, accessible to UT farmers who otherwise would have had to devote much of their time and of their precious money in search of good quality cattle. The flagship event which is now a monthly affair has become a focal point of all eyes being the only event of this magnitude offering a lot of opportunities to farmers in Jammu and Kashmir.
From being a regular affair, now the Pashudhan Vyapar Mela is going hammers and tongs across the region as it is not only limited to livestock trading but will also facilitate the doubling of farmers’ incomes through the adoption of the best practices, the genetic upgrading of dairy animals, the latest technical interventions and the proper management of high quality dairy animal breeds. Not even a year has passed since the creation of the event; The results of this UT Administration initiative are very promising and encouraging, judging by the prosperity it has brought into the lives of farmers who have benefited from the myriad of programs such as the Integrated Dairy Development Program (IDDS ), Integrated Poultry Development Program (IPDP), Integrated Forage Development Scheme (IFDS), Integrated Sheep Development Scheme (ISDS) in addition to providing free vaccination against FMDV disease minimizing associated risks. last year’s tally of 78 units to 142 units (710 animals) so far in the current fiscal year with two months remaining. The distribution of IDDS beneficiaries in Kathua district includes 31 units from Nagri, 28 from Barnoti, 26 from Marheen, 20 from Kathua, 11 from Mahanpur, 6 from Basohli, 6 from Keerian Gandyal and 1 from Nagrota Gujjroo and 1 blocks of Hiranagar respectively.
Likewise, farmers in other J&K UT districts have also taken advantage of opportunities to buy breeds of cows, buffaloes, etc. high quality from these Pashudhan Melas which includes purchase of 106 animals by farmers from samba district, 690 from Jammu, 56 from Rajouri, 36 from Reasi, 39 from Udhampur, 43 from Ramban, 84 from Doda, 44 from Poonch, 54 from Srinagar, 47 from Baramulla, 21 from Ganderbal, 20 from Shopian, 70 from Kupwara, 5 from Kulgam, 15 from Budgam, 14 from Bandipora and 21 of Anantnag districts respectively. Recounting his achievement, progressive farmer Kewal Krishan Khajuria from the Nagri block of Kathua district called the administration’s initiative a ground-breaking step to bring effervescent and exuberant changes in the lives of farmers who are eager to explore new avenues in the dairy sector. “With the technical know-how provided by the expert team of Kathua District Animal Husbandry Bureau, I successfully established a dairy unit by purchasing 40 animals under IDDS under the name and style M/s Krishna Kamdhenu Dairy and by supplying more than 3.5 quintals of milk daily to JKMPCL which was founded with the help of Gujarat Dairy Cooperative Amul in 2004 to empower milk producers in the J&K Union Territory.
Another farmer Sayed Ali Chaudhary from Block Marheen, who has established 8 units under IDDS, expressed his joy in getting quality breeds of animals through Pashudhan Vyapar Mela, which brings him handsome income. While expressing his gratitude to the administration, he said, “Pashudhan Vyapar Mela is transforming the lives of people associated with agriculture/farming on an unprecedented scale.” District Livestock Officer, Kathua, Dr. Satvir Raina who is the district nodal officer to look after star Pashudhan Vyapar Mela said the initiative has received huge response from all over as the Farmers from all nooks and crannies of J&K UT have reaped the benefits of this platform. He revealed that the provision of a mobile veterinary clinic will soon be launched in the district which will offer home delivery to farmers in need. DAHO has also informed that Mirpur Ram Village in Nagri Block is set to become Maiden Milk Village of Kathua District for which over 125 units have been licensed by the department. He further stated that in addition to providing quality livestock trade, the platform also offers a helping hand by providing information and related documentation on best farming practices and relevant machinery to improve their bottom line. .
Deputy Commissioner, Kathua, Rahul Yadav said the event also focuses on educating farmers on the latest breeds of livestock besides providing opportunities to get the best breed of livestock as well as an exposure to the latest farming practices. He said these Melas play an important role in preparing cattle owners who can get ideas and expertise from outside herders. He said that the administration has set up a dedicated counter to facilitate all the stakeholders involved in the sale and purchase of livestock by providing the necessary permits to the site promptly. The Livestock Department has taken a series of measures to enable farmers and livestock owners to adopt dairy farming which has huge demand in the market. The platform offers a wide range of opportunities for young people to come forward and start their dairy farming units under Integrated Dairy Development Scheme (IDDS) which provides the necessary expertise and machinery at subsidized rates.
The decision to revamp several schemes by agriculture and related sectors, coupled with the introduction of Pashudhan Vyapar Mela, has resulted in a huge increase in milk production in recent times. The aim is to make Jammu and Kashmir self-sufficient in dairy production which currently imports over 25% of the total consumption from the neighboring states of Punjab and Haryana. LG, during the inauguration of the event in Hiranagar, cited a research paper on the evolution of the agricultural and horticultural system of Jammu and Kashmir published in the American scientific journal “Heliyon”, which recognized the historical development underway in UT’s agricultural sector. The Lieutenant Governor credited the determined efforts of administration officials and the farming community for this unprecedented development. With the vision of the UT administration, the initiative of Pashudhan Vyapar Mela benefits the farmers by realizing their aspirations, thus advancing in the direction of development and increasing their income in multiple ways. This good governance initiative by the UT administration highlights the enormous potential that J&K holds for growth in the agricultural and related sectors in addition to contributing to the raw happiness of the agricultural community.