Focusing on dairy farming
Jammu and Kashmir Administrative Council has approved the transfer of another 47 Kanals and 13 Marlas of land at Chadoora, Budgam to the Animal and Sheep Husbandry department for establishment of milk processing infrastructure. As rightly pointed out by the Administration, the establishment of milk processing infrastructure shall bring multifaceted benefits that encompass economic development, job creation, improved nutrition, food security, and the enhancement of agricultural practices. It will upgrade the dairy industry by promoting the overall well-being of communities and economies, the press release said.
Dairy farming is one of the major sources of income for rural households in Jammu and Kashmir. It contributes significantly to the state’s agricultural economy and provides employment opportunities to a large portion of the population, particularly in rural areas.J&K has a substantial population of cattle, including indigenous breeds like. These cattle are primarily used for milk production, and efforts have been made to improve their breed quality and productivity.The Union Territory produces a significant quantity of milk annually, and the production has been increasing over the years. However, there is still potential for further growth in milk production through improved breeding practices, nutrition management, and better veterinary care. Though dairy cooperatives play a crucial role in the dairy industry of J&K. as they help in organizing and empowering small-scale dairy farmers by providing them with access to markets, technology, and financial services and the Jammu and Kashmir Milk Producers’ Cooperative Limited (JKMPCL) is a prominent cooperative that operates in the state, however, the industry faces several challenges, including limited access to modern dairy farming techniques and technologies, inadequate infrastructure for milk processing and transportation, and issues related to the quality and hygiene of dairy products.
Though there has been an increasing focus on value addition in the dairy sector in recent years and the UT administration has supported initiatives to promote the production of dairy products such as cheese, butter, ghee, and traditional products like Khoa and Shufta, the production can be affected by seasonal variations, particularly during harsh winters when feed availability and cattle management become challenging. The administration needto address these issues through the establishment of silage and fodder banks.
Expanding milk production centers in Kashmir can have several important benefits for the region and its people. These centers can create jobs and income opportunities for local residents. This is especially important in regions like Kashmir, where unemployment and underemployment are significant issues. Besides, dairy farming, when managed sustainably, can promote soil fertility through the use of manure as a natural fertilizer. This can have positive long-term effects on the overall agricultural ecosystem.
However, it’s essential to ensure that the expansion of milk production is done sustainably, taking into account environmental factors, animal welfare, and the long-term viability of the dairy industry. Proper planning, training, and infrastructure development are crucial to realizing these potential benefits. Additionally, efforts should be made to support small-scale and local dairy farmers to ensure that the benefits of increased milk production are distributed equitably throughout the community.