Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Agriculture Production Department, Atal Dulloo chaired a meeting with expert delegation from New Zealand in connection with survey of ruminant sector in Jammu & Kashmir.

It is pertinent to mention that a Memorandum of Cooperation has already been signed between Governments of Jammu & Kashmir and New Zealand for overhauling sheep husbandry sector in the region through transfer of technology, research and development, value addition and marketing areas.

The delegates from New Zealand included Consul General & Trade Commissioner, Ralph Hays; Director, Agribusiness Group New Zealand, Dr Stuart Ford; Science Impact Leader, AgResearch Ltd, Dr Warren King; and Senior BDM, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, New Delhi, Sudha Palit.

In a powerpoint presentation, Technical Officer, Dr Rizwan Qureshi summarised the objectives of the collaboration. It was informed that due to past efforts, J&K has emerged as a major wool producing region of India.

The agreement between the governments, at present, involves development of model sheep farms, collaboration in the area of fodder production, addition of value to wool and mutton products and strengthening of disease diagnostics laboratories/ vaccine production units. It also aims at other areas like education of local veterinarians, artificial insemination and improvement of production and productivity of small ruminants through genetics.

Focus is also to be laid on bridging the deficit in domestic mutton production and consumption. At present, J&K procures a major part of its consumption quota from other states.

Speaking at the occasion, the Additional Chief Secretary called for giving major thrust to mutton production in J&K. We need to work with a vision for maintaining domestic advantage in wool production with the addition of features like processing, branding and marketing also, he said.

He said, ‘over the years, we aim to produce a quality breed of sheep while becoming a net exporter of rams (male sheep) to other states’. He also assured of the government’s inclination towards investing in development and improvement of farms as well.

The ACS welcomed assistance in the latest technology of artificial insemination and embryo transfer technology (ETT). Similarly, the ACS laid stress on increasing fodder production, incorporating improved disease control measures and for the capacity building of veterinarians. He also called for intervention of the experts in exploring untapped sectors like meat and carcass processing.

The visiting delegates also shared their aspirations and promised full cooperation for development of Sheep Husbandry sector in Jammu & Kashmir.

The officers present at the meeting included Secretary in Agriculture Production Department; Special Secretary, Agriculture Production Department; Director, Sheep Husbandry Kashmir; Director, Sheep Husbandry, Jammu; Director Finance/Planning, Agriculture Production Department and other concerned officers.

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