Four blocks of the district have witnessed 'massive' livestock development under the venture “Sustainable livestock-based farming system for livelihood security in Hoshiarpur district of Punjab”, the principal investigator of the project has claimed.
In 2008, the World Bank had sanctioned a major project to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) at New Delhi to conduct research and disseminate recommended technologies to alleviate the poverty of the rural masses.
At the same time, the Planning Commission identified 150 disadvantaged districts in various states across the country.
In Punjab, Hoshiarpur was included in the list of disadvantaged districts, and the sub-project was awarded to Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) at Ludhiana.
Principal investigator AL Saini said that with consortium partner Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Unnati Co-operative Marketing-cum-Processing Society Limited at Talwara, and the dairy development department, GADVASU had developed and disseminated area-specific technologies related to livestock farming, including water harvesting for fish farming and other related disciplines.
Bhunga, Dasuya, Hajipur and Talwara blocks were earmarked as poorest of the poor in this district.
Saini claimed that with the innovations, these areas witnessed “massive livestock development” and farmers in the Kandi area reaped “huge benefits” from the new technologies in livestock farming.
“Moreover, cultivation of fodder crops like maize, guinea grass and Napier bajra, amla and high-yielding varieties of maize, mash, til, bajra and vegetables was promoted for value addition. The varietal change of seeds of different crops resulted in significant improvement in the yield,” Saini said.
He claimed that the per capita income of farmers had increased from `12,500 to `23,000 per annum.
Farm women were given skill training in fruit and vegetable preservation, stitching, embroidery, and knitting, and all-women Self Help Groups (SHG) were created and linked to various financial institutions, he added.
Saini said that a sustainability fund of `7.5 lakh had been created by charging partially for every input provided to the farmer, and it would be utilised by the farmers for generating some common facilities.