On a day-long official tour of Gujarat on Sunday, Union Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Giriraj Singh discussed future plans of his ministry to complement Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s target to double farmers’ income, even as he said that one of the major issues the dairy sector currently faces is that of fodder.
Addressing a press conference, Singh said that the PM has, for the first time, created a separate ministry for animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries since it is important for farmers to indulge in livestock along with traditional farming.
He said that a number of initiatives are being taken by the Union government for this purpose, for instance, an attempt to increase the cattle’s resistance against deadly diseases like Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD) and Brucellosis, which lowers the productivity of farmers by 30%. “Like Polio (campaign), we will eradicate FMD from the cattle in the next five years…Similarly, we have received funds to eradicate Brucellosis.”
The Union minister added that initiatives for the development of breeds are also being taken, such as the control of population of unproductive cattle and improving the breed of milch animals through sex-sorted semen technology, under which a female cattle will give birth to only female calves. He said that, in total, 11 sex-sorted semen laboratories will be started, and three such laboratories with two lakh doses are expected to start their operations next month.
In another initiative, the union government will launch a pilot project in which 10 houses of a village (willing to volunteer) will be given a ‘desi’ hen. The move is aimed to tap into the increased demand of organic eggs in the world, with each family getting around 50-60 eggs which will add to their income.
“The biggest problem of the dairy sector is fodder, to decrease its input cost,” he said, adding that his ministry is working on a project to encourage the usage of Quality Protein Maize (QPM) as fodder. They are also planning to bring ‘Saragvo’ (leifera) as fodder.
He added that he had been working on the project for the past 10 years in Bihar, and had also written to the Prime Minister in the previous government.
Replying to a question on how his ministry will deal with the fodder issue when a significant part of the country is facing rain shortage, Singh said our country is facing a contradiction with floods in some places and droughts in others, and the ministry is dealing with the subject accordingly.
“The entire society will have to show concern. The day the entire the society will be a part of the government, people will start understanding,” Singh said, adding that people should give a fair chance to the government which has started its efforts in the direction of doubling farmers’ income.