Cattle population in Nagaland nosedives by more than 66% - Eastern Mirror
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Cattle population in Nagaland nosedives by more than 66%

By Purnungba Longkumer Updated: Feb 19, 2022 10:15 pm
R Khing and Dr. Arun Kumar Sangwan along with officials of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services at Niathu Resort, Chümoukedima on Saturday. (EM Images)

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Dimapur, Feb. 19 (EMN): The population of cattle in Nagaland has drastically decreased by more than half in just seven years, said Dean of College of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry, Jalukie, Dr. Arun Kumar Sangwan on Saturday.

He was speaking at an officer’s conclave organised by the department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services at Niathu Resort in Chümoukedima. It was held on the ‘Challenges in the livestock health sector for the Northeast region with special reference to Nagaland’.

Sangwan informed that the population of cattle in Nagaland declined by a whopping 66.68% over seven years, decreasing from 2, 34,974 in 2012 to 78,296 in 2019. During the same period, population of pigs also decreased by 19.65%, from 5, 03,688 to 4, 04,695.

However, he shared that the population of poultry increased by 30.32% in 2019 with a total population of 28, 38,944 as compared to 21,78,470 in 2012.

The dean said that livestock holds a high social value for the rural community and there is an ever-increasing demand for livestock and its products in the Northeast region.

He said that the challenges faced by the livestock sector in north-eastern India were due to poor genetic potential for livestock production, while the average production of indigenous livestock and poultry is ‘poor’.

He added that the area is deficient in concentrated animal feeds rich in protein and energy, while there is no quality data on the incidence and prevalence of diseases, and slaughtering facilities are ‘too inadequate’.

He went on to share the possible solution to eradicating the constraints of limited availability of feed and fodder and high feed cost by developing a formulation of low-cost feed, which is locally available and also by dissemination of superior germplasm through different state and central schemes.

‘Bird flu poses threat to public health’

The dean said that they should prioritise field surveillance, quality prevalence data, rank the diseases of major importance and give importance to bio-security.

He informed that at least 75% of new human diseases emerge from animals, and animal disease experts have warned that the escalating cases of bird flu pose a threat to public health worldwide. He added that there is little they could do to control bird flu in wild birds but can limit the disease spreading from domestic poultry to humans by clear communication to farmers and robust bio-security measures.

Sangwan also stated that the action plan of the new animal health strategy should give prioritisation to Northeast interventions, create a modern Northeast health framework, improvement in prevention and crisis preparedness and research.

Dwindling budget and output

In his keynote address, Director of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services Nagaland, Dr. Budhi Lama said that the department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services had been doing well for quite some time but a shift in the dynamics of production was experienced in the last five years due to various reasons.

Lama highlighted that meat, milk and eggs production in the state is decreasing by approximately 20%, which is a matter of concern to the department and policymakers. This trend needs to be introspected, he said, adding that with the changing scenario, many livestock farming entrepreneurs were outperforming the department farms.

The director stated that the dwindling budget of the state plan has impacted the entire development as their department budget of INR 35 crore had been reduced to INR 3.5 crore.

Thus ,this financial constraint is a litmus test for the department, he said, while urging the department to join hands with private farmers and entrepreneurs and enhance production through public-private partnership (PPP) mode.

He also said that moving towards direct funding of 100% with specific interest by the government of India through SIA is taking new shape and urged the officers to be ready to execute the delivery system, otherwise they would fall behind other states.

The director also informed that during the pandemic, the department could rear and distribute more than 1.77 lakh poultry to the public and even imported exotic pigs from the UK.

Advisor for Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services and Women Resources Development, R Khing said that the Veterinary department is responsible for the health care of animals and they were privileged to have equal status with the Health department as they were all treating living beings.

He added that the ‘nature of the veterinary doctors is technical and they can only observe the cause of the health problems of animals, unlike human patients’.

He urged the department to take up research work as well and advised the gathering to be sincere and co-operate with the department in order to contribute to the economy of the state.

By Purnungba Longkumer Updated: Feb 19, 2022 10:15:36 pm