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‘TAD-CWDB wool project to benefit 30,000 tribal sheep farmers in J&K’

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SRINAGAR: Tribal Affairs Department (TAD) and Central Wool Development Board (CWDB), Ministry of Textiles, Government of India have finalised a project aimed at benefitting nearly 30,000 tribal sheep-farming families over a period of three years by providing Skilling, financial assistance, infrastructure, and marketing support.

Secretary, Tribal Affairs Department, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, and Executive Director, CWDB, Ministry of Textiles finalised the project components after detailed deliberations between the department and the board. Secretary in Tribal Affairs Deptt, Harun Malik, Director, Tribal Affairs, Mushir Ahmed Mirza, Jt Director Planning, Shama un Ahmed, Deputy Director TRI, Dr Abdul Khabir, Deputy Director TAD Kashmir Dilshada Akhter and senior officers from the department and central board were present in the meeting.

The proposal of the Tribal Affairs Deptt being supported by the CWDB includes the establishment of two Common Facility Centres (CFC) at an estimated cost of Rs 10.00 Cr. One CFC each in Jammu and Kashmir provinces will be equipped with state-of-the-art machinery for wool sorting, processing, grading, and packaging.

TAD is rolling out a plan to train nearly 30,000 tribal sheep farmers in mechanised sheep shearing which will lead to an increase in wool production, improvement in quality of wool, and reduced cost of shearing. Mechanical shearing units worth Rs 2.00 Cr have been included in the project which will be provided to tribal Farmer groups. Each group will be provided machinery upto Rs 3.00 Lakh.

The establishment of wool mandis at three locations and more than 40 centres for wool collections and transit support have been approved under the project. Other components include the market intervention and support scheme as well as the development of a portal for expanding the wool sale network. Farmer Produce Organisations and SHGs are to be constituted under the project to avail benefits under various components of the project.

Dr Shahid Choudhary, in a detailed presentation, shared the huge potential of tribal wool as a sheep population of nearly 25 Lakh migrating to highland pastures and in absence of value addition and marketing facilities the tribal farmers do not receive attractive returns. Interventions under the project will provide massive opportunities for the sale of wool and wool products with direct benefit to the sheep breeders.

Executive Director, CWDB, Ministry of Textiles along with Technical Director Anurag Purohit briefed about collaboration between the board and J&K tribal affairs department for effective implementation of the project to cover maximum tribal sheep farmers and specifically the migratory population to improve their economic status. Specific support is being extended for marketing support and value addition.

The tribal affairs department has already provided 20,000 sheep to tribal farmers over the last year and a half under specific intervention through mini Sheep Farms through Sheep Husbandry Deptt. Apart from expanding the sheep population, the department is focusing on the marketing of wool to ensure an organised market for optimum returns to sheep farmers. The trainings will be conducted by the Tribal Research Institute in collaboration with Universities and institutes of excellence in the sheep husbandry sector. The project is being launched from October 2022.

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