MUZAFFARABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider on Tuesday announced that he would enhance the allocation of funds for the development of livestock sector in next fiscal year’s budget.
During a visit to the research and development centre of the AJK livestock and dairy development department, he noted that people could not only generate a sizeable income but also help the government scale down the alarming ratio of unemployment in the state by connecting themselves to livestock sector.
On its part, he said, the government would ensure a veterinary dispensary was established and kept fully functional in each union council.
He expressed satisfaction that under Director General Dr Matloob Hussain Raja, the livestock and dairy development department had shown progress in introducing new varieties of dairy cow and beef cattle that have increased dairy and beef production.
He was of the view that AJK could not only meet local dairy and meat needs, but also of the neighbouring areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab if people showed a keen interest in livestock sector.
He asked the department to launch awareness programmes through public and private media on the utility of raising new breeds of cattle, even if they had small land holdings.
The department should prepare and circulate a livestock breeding strategy in keeping with the geographical and climatic conditions of the state, he added.
Earlier, during a detailed briefing, the director general told the premier that more than 80pc of AJK was mountainous, where majority used to raise cattle, sheep and goats before the 2005 earthquake for domestic and commercial purposes.
The practice witnessed a sharp decline due to multiple factors after the earthquake, but the department was utilising all of its capacity and resources to reconnect people with cattle rearing so that they could not only meet their domestic needs but also gain commercial benefits from them, he said.
Interest free loan scheme for dairy farming was also introduced with the same purpose, he added.
Dr Mohammad Ejaz Khan told the premier that the research and development centre had developed best progeny of dairy cow and beef cattle.
The dairy cow breed could grow and calve within two years and produced 15-20 litres of milk in a day until the next calving, he said.
Of beef cattle, he said, the breed they had developed gained 900 grams in a day, and in less than two years the weight reached about 400 kilograms.
The premier was also informed that efforts were on for development of a top quality goat which would give at least 5kg milk in a day.
Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2019