Sheep rearers, mostly nomadic Gaddis, are a harried lot as the state doesn’t have a separate sheep directorate to solve problems faced by the community that is always on the move. Consequently, the number of sheep is dwindling in the past decade in this hilly state. According to 2012 animal census, Himachal has nearly eight lakh sheep and 12 lakh goats, thus constituting nearly 40 percent of the total animal population in Himachal. In addition, 165,603 households have goats whereas 77,745 households have sheep. Considered to be organic and zero budget farming, 60 percent of sheep and goat rearing is practiced by migratory livestock owners who take their flocks to pastures in
higher reaches during summer while migrating to lower areas during winter. In a letter written to Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Virender Kanwar, Vice-president of National BJP Scheduled Tribe Morcha, Trilok Kapoor has listed various problems faced by sheep rearers and pointed out that the government was paying less attention to this avocation.This venture will become extinct in coming few years if immediate attention s not paid to their problems, cautioned Trilok Kapoor, who is also former chairman of HP Wool Federation. He added that sheep rearers lack good quality
rams for breeding, sheering facilities at proper time, stoppage of vaccination, dipping and drenching facilities on routes followed by migratory flocks. Kapoor pointed that HP Wool Federation was having only three sheep shearers at present who can shear only 30000 sheep and that federation must have at least a dozen sheep shearers. Notably, other wool producing states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand have promoted sheep and goat rearing by establishing different departments and boards. Neighbouring Jammu and Kashmir too has sheep husbandry department and directorate that has proved helpful in meeting out the demand for wool and meat, said Kapoor, demanding that establishing a separate sheep and goat directorate will go a long way in boosting this enterprise in Himachal also.
Source: (Daily Post reporter from Dharamshala)
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