The state of Jammu and Kashmir has a tremendous potential for the development of dairy farming due to its vast fields of agricultural land, alpine green pasture and water resources. Dairy farming is a demand driven sector and it plays a very important role in socio economic development of Jammu and Kashmir. It provides employment to thousands’ of people and contributes well to the economy of the marginal people and the state government as well. Due to modernization and adoption of western culture, The traditional rearing of animals for milk and milk products among rural villages has declined very much and there are hardly 10-12 % rural households who are rearing animals for milk and meat purposes. For the past two decades, decrease in milk production, increase in population pressure and change in food habits among people have increased the demand of milk and milk related products in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is ironic that our so-called modern society is developed in such a way that the majority of families in rural villages are feeling shy, hesitation and low status in adopting sheep farming. Keeping in view the increasing demand of milk, milk products and the growing unemployment rate in Jammu and Kashmir, the government of Jammu and Kashmir has launched many beneficial schemes for increasing the milk production, doubling farmers’ income and creating more employment opportunities for unemployed youth of the Jammu and Kashmir. The Integrated Dairy Development scheme is one of the most important schemes launched by the government under which many educated youth and marginalised farmers particularly in villages established their dairy units and availed huge benefits. The government is also providing a milking machine, bulk milk cooling unit, Milk ATMs, milk van, ice cream making machine, butter and ghee making machine and cheese making machine at 50% subsidy. The government is also providing sound financial assistance, guidance, counselling on scientific lines, feed, and fodder to beneficiaries. The government is at the forefront by providing all kinds of education and awareness through campaigns’, seminars, workshops, symposiums, debates, discussions etc. with the mission and vision to uplift the dairy farming to new heights in Jammu and Kashmir. Short-term skill development training programmes about production, processing, and marketing of dairy products are also being provided to the unemployed educated youth and interested people so that they will establish their own dairy units and stand on their own feet. For promoting and boosting the dairy sector and competing it at national level, the Jammu and Kashmir government has been keeping all the facilities available to the dairy farmers and the government has imported many high yielding species’ of cows like Sindhi, Holstein, Friesen, and expanded services of Artificial insemination centres at the doorstep of dairy farmers. The constructive steps taken by the government for the last many years has shown promising and fruitful results in the form of high milk production and productivity. The dairy sector has hugely benefited thousands of educated youth. Many educated youth are reaping the benefits of dairy farming and thousands of unemployed educated youth are being lured towards the dairy farming. It is pertinent to mention that a highly qualified educated youth from the chanthan checkpora ,Beerwah namely Jahangir Gull has become an example for youth of Beerwah, Budgam to follow. Jahangir Gull has done an M.Phil. In fisheries subject and without waiting and wasting years for government jobs, Jahangir Gull established his own dairy farm under financial assistance, counselling and guidance of the sheep and animal husbandry department Budgam. Jahangir Gull has become an employer instead of a job seeker as he has employed two employees at his dairy farm. Jahangir Gull said dairy farming is more profitable and he will employ more employees in the next few years. Dairy farming is economically more rewarding and it increases food security, nutrition security and raises household income of dairy farmers. It has generated huge employment opportunities in rural and urban areas of Jammu and Kashmir. There are thousands of youth in Jammu and Kashmir waiting only for government jobs for many years. Unnecessary waiting of educated youth for years is not only wasting their precious time but affecting their health as well.
For the past many years, suicide rates has increased and many youth committed suicides and many fell victim of anxiety and depressions due to lack of jobs. The government of Jammu and Kashmir cannot provide jobs to all educated youth due to limited vacancy. The youth of Jammu and Kashmir are assets of a society and they need to wake up early for their bright and prosperous future. Sound financial assistance, counselling and guidance to all unemployed educated youth from the government is the need of the hour so that they will stand on their own feet. Dairy farming in Jammu and Kashmir is also facing challenges like lack of cold storage infrastructure, lack of marketing and processing units, lack of transport facility, lack of education, awareness and training among youth and people, lack of health cover and risk management schemes for dairy farmers, high cost of fodder, lack of dairy cooperatives, lack of veterinary hospitals and doctors, outbreak of epidemics like Foot and Mouth Disease, non availability of vaccines, green pastures and water resources due to anthropogenic activities. Development of green pastures, markets, and milk processing units, affordable and uninterrupted supply of feed and reliable veterinary services apart from financial help by the government will definitely redress challenges and resolve rising unemployment problems of educated youth. The government is now trying better to redress challenges faced by the dairy farmers and it has recently prepared a roadmap for making dairy farming more thriving and progressing in Jammu and Kashmir. Let’s hope that the government will leave no stone unturned to help youth in developing and promoting dairy farming and equally youth of Jammu and Kashmir to come out of their cosy rooms and take advantage of government schemes like The Integrated Dairy Development scheme for their better and prosperous future.
(The author is a teacher at Govt Boys Higher Secondary School Beerwa Budgam .The views, opinions, facts, assumptions, presumptions and conclusions expressed in this article are those of the author and aren’t necessarily in accord with the views of “Kashmir Horizon”.)
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