Lumpy skin disease affects milk economy in Rajasthan; production down by 21%

Updated on Sep 19, 2022 11:05 AM IST

In Rajasthan, more than 59,000 cattle, mainly cows, have died in Rajasthan due to the infectious lumpy skin disease, which has spread in all 33 districts of the state

A health official vaccinates a cow against lumpy skin disease. (File image)
A health official vaccinates a cow against lumpy skin disease. (File image)

The lumpy skin disease continues to spread like wildfire in Rajasthan having killed over 55,000 cattle since its outbreak in July.

The disease has now started to affect the milk production in the state as the collection has witnessed a decline of over 21% in the month of August.

Senior official of Rajasthan Cooperative Dairy Federation (RCDF) said the outbreak has affected the milk production, and the collection across the state has been reduced by 5-6lakh litre per day.

However, the reduced collection has not affected the demand supply ratio of milk as the department has made aggressive efforts to increase the collection.

Also Read: Cattle movement restricted in city to curb spread of lumpy skin disease

The (RCDF) has informed that in August, about 27.54lakh litre per day milk was being collected at collection centres. The collection is estimated to have reduced by 6 to 8 lakh litre per day, than the estimated figure of 35lakh litre per day. The estimated collection figure of 30lakh litre per day in the month July was also not achieved, as it was 23.60lakh per day, said the official.

The milk collection is estimated to increase in monsoon, which starts in Rajasthan June onward.

In western Rajasthan’s Barmer districts, the milk production at many places has almost come down to zero due to the disease.

President, Barmer Dugdh Utpadak Sahkari Samiti Limited (Milk Production Cooperative Committee), Bhikharam Choudhary, said two months back when the situation was normal, total milk collection per day was around 15,000litres of which 70% was of cows.

“Due to lumpy, which has mostly hit the cows, we are hardly getting 1000litres of cow milk, that too is not regular,” he said.

He said there are a total of 72 operation milk federations in Barmer, of which 10% have gone non-operational as they were totally dependent on cow milk.

In many areas, a large population has died due to the disease lumpy because of which milk production from such areas has stopped.

Sharing his woes, Pumaram Bishnoi, cattle rearer from Dedavaas village in Barmer said, “Earlier I was selling around 15litres of cow milk per day but today I am buying it for personal needs. All three cows have died from this disease.”

This disease has also raised the price of animals.

Earlier, a cow costing between 10,000 to 15,000, which now has increased to 30-40,000.

In Ajmer, also, the collection has declined and severely affected the small and marginal cattle rearers.

“Before lumpy, per day collection was 2.70lakh litre, which has now reduced to 2.45lakh litre. The collection gap is more when compared with the expected growth, which we were expecting to touch 3.50lakh litre per day,” said Ramchandra Choudhary, President, Ajmer Dugdh Utpadak Sahkari Samiti.

He said not just the milk collection but the small and marginal cattle rearers, who lost all cattle and were dependent on this livelihood, are totally ruined.

“The GoI should declare it as a pandemic and ensure compensation,” he said.

Amid the rising cases, chief minister Ashok Gehlot is constantly asking the central government to declare the disease a pandemic. He said it has spread in 20 states, and like corona it should also be declared a pandemic, which will help in effective management of the disease.

In the letter to the PM, Gehlot also apprised him about the steps taken by the state such as setting up of a control room, constitution of rapid response team, ban on animal fair, among others.

“Lumpy should be declared pandemic for effective management, and ensuring relief to cattle owners and cow shelters,” he said.

Animal husbandry minister Lalchand Kataria said all necessary steps are being taken by the department from spreading awareness to vaccination. Over 13.63lakh animals have been vaccinated in the state.

RCDF, managing director, Sushma Arora said there was an impact due to lumpy but we managed to steer through with our action plan – the milk procurement and support prices were increased, opened new milk routes, and farmers became motivated to connect with RCDF.

Leader of opposition, Gulab Chand Kataria said lumpy showed its presence in April and May, the state was aware of its characteristics, how it spread like wildfire. There aren’t any vaccines for it and that was also known. Other states were already struggling, they had started using precautionary vaccines but here, the first meeting was taken on August 15.

He continued the government figures claim around 50,000 deaths but in reality, the number is in lakhs. The infection has led to a decline in milk production. The entire dairy system has been affected badly, and so has the farmer.

“The CM is asking GoI to declare it a pandemic, why don’t they do it first? The state should also compensate for the cattle death,” he said, adding that the opposition will be demanding the same.

In Rajasthan, more than 59,000 cattle, mainly cows, have died in Rajasthan due to the infectious lumpy skin disease, which has spread in all 33 districts of the state.

A maximum of 4,870 deaths have been reported from Ganganagar, followed by Nagaur (4,729), Ajmer (4,025), Jaipur (3,636), Jodhpur (4,063), Sikar (3,556), and Hanumangarh (3,162).

Of the 13.02lakh infected animals, over 12.49 have been treated.


    Sachin Saini is Special Correspondent for Rajasthan. He covers politics, tourism, forest, home, panchayati raj and rural development, and development journalism.

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