Government Initiatives to Boost Dairy and Livestock Sector in Himachal Pradesh

Vaccination Drive for Sheep and Goats

The Himachal Government has  announced a series of initiatives aimed at boosting the dairy and livestock sector, with a particular focus on Kangra district. The government has set aside dedicated funds for the first time to support the welfare of sheep and goat farmers, a decision that has been praised by shepherd associations across the state. This move is expected to have a significant impact on the sector and help improve the livelihoods of farmers in the region.

Addressing Health Concerns

Under the newly announced budget allocation, a substantial amount of Rs 10 crore has been designated for the vaccination of approximately eight lakh sheep and eleven lakh goats. The vaccination program primarily targets combating foot and mouth disease while also emphasizing deworming to ensure the overall health and well-being of the livestock population in the state.

Expansion in Dairy Infrastructure

Recognizing the pivotal role of the dairy sector, the government unveiled plans for the establishment of a state-of-the-art milk processing plant at Dagwar near Dharamsala. Initially set to handle 1.5 lakh liters of milk per day, the plant's capacity is slated for expansion to 3 lakh liters daily in subsequent phases. Additionally, the government announced the establishment of new milk processing facilities in Una and Hamirpur, with a total investment outlay of Rs 50 crore.

Supporting Local Dairy Farmers

In a bid to empower local dairy farmers, the government introduced a scheme offering 50% subsidy to facilitate the establishment of milk collection centers. Furthermore, plans are underway for the acquisition of 200 refrigerated vans, facilitating the seamless transportation of milk from collection points to processing plants, thereby ensuring minimal spoilage and maximum efficiency.

Commendation from Stakeholders

Stakeholders within the shepherd and dairy farming communities have welcomed the government's proactive measures. Akshay Jasrotia, state advisor of Himachal Pradesh Ghumantu Pashu Palak Sabha, expressed gratitude for the long-awaited budgetary allocation, highlighting its significance for the shepherd population, which constitutes approximately 10% of the state's populace.

Pawana Kumari, secretary of Himachal Pradesh Ghumantu Pashu Palak Sabha, emphasized the invaluable contribution of traditional Gaddi shepherds to the state's economy and expressed optimism regarding the prudent utilization of the allocated budget for the welfare of the shepherd community.

Challenges Ahead

  1. Inadequate Collection Centers: The existing infrastructure for milk collection is insufficient to meet the demands of dairy farmers, leading to logistical constraints and inefficiencies in milk procurement.
  2. Escalating Fodder Costs: Dependency on neighboring states like Punjab for fodder exposes dairy farmers to fluctuating prices, rendering dairy farming economically challenging and potentially unsustainable.
  3. Infrastructure Deficiencies: Lack of modern infrastructure, including cold storage facilities and transportation networks, hampers the efficient supply chain management of dairy products, resulting in wastage and reduced profitability.
  4. Technological Gaps: Limited access to advanced technologies and practices hinders productivity and competitiveness in the dairy sector, necessitating investments in research and development to enhance efficiency and yield.
  5. Marketing and Market Access: Dairy farmers face challenges in accessing lucrative markets and negotiating fair prices for their products, highlighting the need for interventions to improve market linkages and promote value addition.
  6. Environmental Pressures: Environmental degradation and climate change pose additional challenges to dairy farming, including water scarcity, soil erosion, and unpredictable weather patterns, necessitating sustainable farming practices and adaptation strategies.

In conclusion, the recent budgetary allocations and initiatives underscore the government's commitment to revitalize the dairy and livestock sector, offering a ray of hope for the prosperity of farmers and shepherds across Himachal Pradesh. However, concerted efforts and collaborative endeavors are imperative to surmount the existing challenges and unlock the full potential of the region's agricultural landscape.


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