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Gujarat model: Centre to take village cow dung project to other states

FE Bureau
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Armed with the success achieved in a Gujarat village to increase income of some dairy farmers through optimum use of cow dung, the Centre plans to convert the pilot project on these lines in every district of the state and later on a national level. According to minister for fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying Giriraj Singh, the annual total earning of some 368 families in Zakariyapura (Anand district) has gone up to over `2 crore from `66 lakh as a result of the government initiative.

There has been production of gas, compost and other use of cow dung, besides focusing on improving yield in milk production, he said, adding 70% of the families in the village has 1 acre or less farm land each. The model is based on technology integration with agriculture, he said but did not give further details. He also said the government is exploring ways to deal with the issue of stray cattle and hoped to introduce some mechanism or model within the next six months which will help increase income of farmers at village level.

Singh said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would launch the `13,500-crore central scheme — to vaccinate all bovine, sheep, goat and pig population to control foot and mouth disease (FMD) and brucellosis — in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, on September 11. Singh exuded confidence that FMD and brucellosis diseases would be eradicated in the next five years. The country loses `18,000-20,000 crore annually due to lower yield and impact on export.

In May, the Union Cabinet, in its first meeting of the Modi 2.0 government, decided to bear the entire cost of `13,343 crore under an existing scheme that seeks to control livestock diseases, especially FMD and brucellosis, in the next five years. Earlier, the Centre and state governments used to contribute funds in the ratio of 60:40. These diseases — FMD and brucellosis — are common among the livestock like cow, bulls, buffaloes, sheep, goats and pigs.

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The scheme envisages vaccination coverage to 30 crore bovines (cows-bulls and buffaloes) and 20 crore sheep/goat and 10 million pigs. The government had said if a cow or buffalo gets infected with FMD, the milk loss is up to 100% which could last for 4-6 months. In case of Brucellosis, the milk output reduces by 30% during the entire life cycle of animal and also causes infertility among the animals.

Minister of state for fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying Sanjeev Balyan stressed the need for public-private partnership (PPP) to boost investment and growth in the sector which has potential to boost farm income and create employment. Through the introduction of new technology in this sector, productivity could be increased substantially, making it attractive for private investment, he added. He also said the government would focus on conserving indigenous breed of cattle and the tagging process has been completed on 2.8 crore cattle out of targetted 10 crore.