Sheep farm allotment to Jammu and Kashmir tribal youth begins
To encourage sheep rearing among tribal youths, the Jammu and Kashmir government has allotted them 800 mini sheep farms.
Officials said this was Union Territory’s Tribal Affairs Department’s “ambitious” project to create employment for 10,000 youths in different districts of Jammu and Kashmir.
Every year more than 20 lakh sheep are slaughtered for meat in Kashmir and more than 60% of these are procured from different states of the country.
“In phase-I of the sheep farming scheme, 1,500 youth have been selected for setting up of 1,500 mini sheep farms this year and it will be raised by 30% every subsequent year. The scheme aims to establish more than 10,000 such sheep farming units in the next 4 years,” said secretary, Tribal Affairs Department, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary.
He said that sheep husbandry department was implementing the scheme with active participation of tribal farmers. “An awareness programme has also been initiated by the sheep husbandry department to elicit greater response in tribal areas. More than 6,000 applications were received in various districts under the flagship scheme which was launched in 13 districts for establishment of 835 mini sheep farms,” Choudhary said.
He added that the scheme was 100% funded by Jammu and Kashmir Tribal Affairs Department. “5,225 applicants were found eligible under the scheme and a draw of lots was conducted in all the 13 districts to select 835 tribal youth for establishment of sheep farms. Further, every district has also maintained a small waiting list of eligible tribal youth.”
Choudhary said his department was working to establish 500 dairy farms and 700 additional mini sheep farms apart from 17 milk villages with support for procurement of milk chilling plants, packaging units and transportation. ”The Agriculture Skill Council of India has been roped in to impart training to 1,500 youth in phase-I of the scheme in coordination with Mission Youth and J&K Skill Development Mission. “Financial institutions have also been roped in for providing financial support to tribal youth desirous of establishing bigger sheep farms with 200-500 livestock,” he added.