Unlock 2.0: Punjab goat farmers await opening of animal mandisUpdated: Jul 02, 2020 20:30 IST
Scores of goat farmers in Punjab continue to reel under financial crisis even as the state enters Unlock 2.0. Farmers say that the goats they are rearing for breeding and dairy purposes have no takers.
A weekly mandi held at Bathinda’s Tungwali village was a reliable platform for a large number of goat farmers where traders from Rajasthan and Maharashtra used to come and buy animals from small and medium-scale farmers.
Farmers visiting the mandi said at least 200 animals were sold at the fair held on second, ninth, 17th and 24th of every month. However, this mandi was suspended since March 9.
Makhan Singh, 38, from Dhurkot village in Ludhiana, has 55 goats but rues for not getting any income from goat rearing. He cultivates rice-wheat cycles on his 2.5 acre land and additional same size of the land on lease for his family of five along with two workers hired to look after the goats.
“Visiting Tungwali every week for sale of goats was quite profit-making. For goats I used to get around Rs 15,000 at mandis and now I cannot sell them for even half the market price. Now, I am finding it difficult to make ends meet due to non-availability of buyers for goats,” he said.
The mandi is organised by a group of progressive farmers at Tungwali, located 20km from district headquarters. Beatle and barbari are among the most popular breeds reared in goateries in state.
Gursewak Singh, of Phulo Mithi village in Bathinda, who started rearing goats in September last year, said he has been waiting for reopening of animal mandi to sell five kids of improved breeds.
“My plans to improve family income have dashed and I have to incur extra to feed the goats. Since these animals are of improved breed, local slaughterhouses offer less than half of the market rate of Rs 12,000-15,000 per kid,” he said.
The man behind the goat market, Balwinder Singh, said he also is facing financial losses due to restrictions. “I had reared about 100 goats for Bakarid scheduled for next month, but owing to lockdown, no trader is placing any order. Usually, we start getting orders for sacrificial animals at least a month ahead of the festival,” he said.
A progressive goat farmer Gurdeep Chahal said goatery is mainly adopted by low-income farmers and due to their limited resources, the lockdown period has caused an immense problem for them.