About 100 quintals of sheep wool is lying unsold in Uttarakhand in the absence of the state government’s purchase policy and a lack of initiative to attract woollen giants, said a government official on Sunday.
At least 16 villages in Chamoli district are feeling the financial pang as the unsold wool could have fetched them about Rs 19,200,000 this year as per the market rates, market sources said. But, the worse part is that the wool producing villages have been facing the phenomenon for over five years now, shepherds said.
Agriculture produce and distribution advisory committee chairman Prithvipal Singh Chauhan said the wool producers needed a purchase and distribution support from the government. He made these observations after visiting a number of villages in Chamoli district. Chauhan said the committee would submit a proposal to the chief minister in this regard soon as the shepherds were facing a hard time without finding a proper market channel for the wool which was a better quality produce.
Market observers said earlier the produce used to be bought by some businessmen from Punjab at handsome prices. But, now they too have stopped buying the raw wool for lack of proper purchase centres. Visiting shepherds individually in the Himalayas might have been proving cumbersome for them and hence they decided to choose other options, they said.
Uttarakhand sheep wool fetches Rs 150 to Rs 200 per kg and even Rs 300 if it had been properly carded (combed and rolled into a thread). But, now the shepherds have to sell it as cheap as Rs 30 a kg, said residents of Wan, Ghes, Balan, Himni, Sutol and Kanol villages.
Malakh Singh of Wan village said the shepherds had no option but to stack the wool which had now become a problem. He said the sheep were shaved every year during April. Each sheep produces about four kilogrammes of wool. His village has 30 families and each household as around 50 sheep that makes a yearly wool output of his village alone to 6,000 kilogrammes (30X50X4). There are about 16 such villages in Chamoli district, which makes it 96,000 kilogrammes of wool, which is equal to Rs 19,200,000 cash.
Diwan Singh, another shepherd said that sheep rearing could have been a lucrative source of income, had the government opened a carding centre in Deval block and taken care of its sale too.