Saturday, May 9, 2015

Govt to support animal rearing farmers: Official

The State government is bringing in important policy changes to help animal rearing farmers, Harsha Gupta, secretary, Animal husbandry, said in Bidar on Wednesday.

Christened ‘Pashu Bhagya’, it includes financial support to buy cattle, fish or birds, life insurance for the animals and compensation on the death of these animals.

The benefit of zero percent interest loans would be extended to animal and bird-rearers. This facility was given only to crop loans till now.

The extension of the facility is expected to hike animal and bird produce, he said.

For example, sheep-rearers will be given zero interest loans of Rs 50,000. We have calculated that with this kind of support, a landless farmer can raise 12 sheep in a year and make a decent profit. This will also help them repay the loan in time, he said. Farmers can keep bulls, chickens, backyard fish ponds or other animals or birds, using this facility, he said. Two -three schemes are being merged to create this scheme. It would be operational in one or two months. It would be a demand generated scheme and there would be no limit on the number of beneficiaries, the secretary said.

Another major change would be tweaking the breeding policy to ensure that native breeds are promoted.

The breeding policy is considered the mother document of the department. Changes made to it will reflect in the way it functions, Mr Gupta said. The changes include supporting farmers who keep cows and buffaloes of native breeds, forming clusters of farmers who keep such cattle and asking scientists to improve native breeds. A focused attempt would be made to create a brand for milk of native cows and buffaloes and market it as an exclusive product.

The central scheme of Gokul Gram will be implemented to develop native breeds by strain selection method. Universities or private agencies that agree to breed and protect native varieties will be supported.

Farmers’ clusters can get low interest loans too. Two breeds - Deoni in Hyderabad Karnataka and Malenadu Gidda in Malnad area will be protected through the Gokul Gram scheme.

Fish clusters will be promoted by setting up fish seed farms, subsidies to fish-rearers, and encouraging formation of farmers’ clusters to scale up the industry and make it viable. The Matsya Darshini vending outlet in Bengaluru will be extended to district head quarters. Through franchise model, raw fish and cooked fish will be sold in outlets. A mobile vending outlet will go around villages or various areas in the cities to sell fish, the commissioner said.

Later, he held a meeting with sheep rearing farmers in the Deputy Commissioner’s office. Pandit Chidri, Karnataka state sheep and wool development corporation chairman and others were present

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