Poetry Book Review: Environment – A Plaintive Cry

By Syed Shamsuddin  

Image result for crying environment
image source: askaboutfukushimanow.
Environmentally speaking, G-B attaches immense significance and is as such literally to Pakistan what the polar region is to Mother Nature. Given this, it gets metaphorically reckoned with as the veritable environmental epicenter or the barometer to put it succinctly. To geologists, the bewildering geological conundrum occasioned when the Indian sub-continental plate once part of Antarctica, underwent detachment and started drifting towards Asia preliminarily at a speed of five centimeter a year while steadily accelerating afterwards until its collision with the Asian plate when it began sliding underneath some 30 million years ago with the consequential heaving up giving rise to this amazing land lay abutting what is called the ‘Roof of the World’ in geographical parlance with the scientific process still said to remain underway albeit at a snail’s pace.

Precisely put, Gilgit-Baltistan remains host to innumerable lofty, virgin peaks, wonderful snow fields, water towers, and above all, the largest glaciers outside the polar region in the world. It is here that major tributaries of the grand River Indus gush forth which constitute the lifeline for the verdant plains in the south sans which life there could become quite inconceivable.

This brings into focus the environmental imperatives that necessitate ever remaining wary over to consistently and constantly keep monitoring the region’s environment in order that it is taken care of in the best possible scientific way and in an efficacious manner in this era of horrid ramifications resulting from the climate change bearing down on the planet to which this mountainous region is invariably not immune. It is to be seen that the incremental climate change here in this geological wonderland if not grappled, can wreak havoc all across the country.

A concise albeit thought-provoking poetry - indeed a cri de coeur entitled “A Plaintive Cry of Environment” by Syed Asad Hassan - a KIU (Karakoram International University) alumnus, graciously publicized by his alma mater for its launching shortly afterwards, is a sterling composition sui generis in that it uniquely encompasses the horrific impacts of environmental or climate change and its concomitants in the contemporary era in a holistic manner with an exemplary lucidity and pertinence of thought and diction. Quite interestingly a prodigious output like this has come from a student of environmental science of the Karakoram International University (KIU) in the recent past which ipso facto becomes straightaway ascribable to the relevant studies that spurred him on and inculcated in him the relevant versification. Undeniably, his association with the KIU invested him with and fired in him a pertinent poetical imagination that enabled to come up with the environment-specific poetry worth acclaim. The way it has painstakingly yet ardently been undertaken with great finesse and consummate skill and a dazzling clarity gets singled out for its uniqueness thereby making it worth emulation

This, at the same time, is very well pointer to the pedagogic proficiency of the KIU in inculcating in its students multi-faceted characteristics – both in curricular and co-curricular context and impregnating them with highly imaginative and scholarly attributes.

Indeed, there is dire need of analyzing the deeper trends obtaining in the environmental context today that underpin the fortunes of all nations. There can equally be no gainsaying that the centers of learning as a generative source they are, not only provide external excitement and stimulation but awaken in the student those very qualities of self motivation that grow from internal springs of inspiration for their employing scientifically to ameliorate the lot humankind.

As a tour de force it is, this poetical masterpiece would hopefully enliven the readers with the snippets so powerfully and persuasively poetized for their having a bearing on all the core environmental dilemmas facing humankind. The appeal so plain, is to be understood by the common run of people to work in unison to avoid further exacerbation of things in order yank the planet back from the brink of destruction. This material having been penned down in so clear, arresting fashion and far-reaching sweep, will surely make for a lively read and would evoke a widespread acclaim by strengthening the readers’ professed concern about the fate of the world tomorrow.

As with all poets, their world is filled with serenity, sedateness, lofty imagination and supreme inspiration. It is aptly remarked that poets are like glow-worms which display light at irregular and intermittently intervals. Poets’ sensitive and touchy hearts invest them with highly sensitive minds, grand perception and penetrating imagination. This imagination, the hop-ground of their fervid hearts, carries them far into the regions known only to the initiated few. Consequently, they plunge into the deep seas of thoughts, bringing out pearls at once rare and serene. It is aptly put that poet’s heart trembles just like an aspen-reed at the slightest rustling of tree leaves!

Last but not least, it redounds to the credit of KIU for having instilled into him an insatiable taste for environmental poetry, imparting to him a greater vision and opening to him the environment vistas for, he is justly proud of. True, centers of higher learning chisel one by one, the angularities of their students and shape them into a brilliant diamonds, helping them acquire profound insight into their respective disciplines. The young poet has ardently expressed his immense gratitude to KIU with all the gusto, zeal and fervor whilst the latter too, seems to have come up with reciprocal warmth and laudation.

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PAYALO - The Shepherd

Payalo in Shina language (widely spoken in Gilgit-Baltistan) is a word that means shepherd. Well shepherds have always been an inspiration for me as they spend their whole life up on the mountains in their huts called "shepherd cottages" built with stones and roofed with straws and I believe that they are very close to nature and they know much more about nature then anyone else.
Being a beginner of documentary filmmaker I want to explore other places around world where i could easily feel natural beauty and document all. #TravelFilms.

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Shamanism - Religion of Magic and Miracles

By Syed Shamsuddin  

J.B. NOSS in his book Man’s religions defines magic as “an endeavor through utterance of set of words, or the performance of set acts, both, to control or bend and power of the world top man’s will. It cannot be divorced from of religion “but it is discernibly present when emphasis is placed on forcing things to happen rather than asking that they do.” A recent very enlightening and inspiring feature published in the Express Tribune impels to make a reference to a write-up emanating decades ago from an English daily then in circulation whereby an eminent writer Qazi Ijaz Ahmad aptly threw light on the subject which is presented as follows for the information of the readers believing sanguinely that its read in conjunction with the recent feature would help young researchers aiming a wider study for a dissertation: “Magic, as inferred from this definition, has been an essential component of all primitive religions. 

Shamanism, a religious system and phenomena centered on the Shaman having function of a priest and a magician was originated among the Tunguz tribe of eastern Siberia. It is hard to give a single definition of the shamanistic activity or describe its evolution in true historical perspective. However, it is generally agreed that shamanism evolved before the development of class society. It was practical among people living in the hunting-and-gathering stage and that it continued to exist, somewhat altered among peoples who had reached the animal-raising and horticultural stage.

According to some scholars, it originated and evolved among the more developed societies that bred cattle for production. The followers of this system believe that evil spirits have influence on man’s fate. These can harm or benefit man and their priests (Shaman) have the authority to neutralize that effect. Shaman is literary term which means “he who knows”. The Oxford dictionary defines it “priest or witch doctor of class claiming to have sole contact with gods.” Sir Herber Risley in his book “The People of India” informs us that the word Shaman is supposed to be varied of the Sanskrit Sarmana and Pali Samana appears in Chinese Sha-man or Shiman in the original sense of a Bhuddist ascetic and passes into the Tunguz as Shaman. 

 The Shaman usually enjoys great powers and prestige in the community and is often a person of superior intellect and ability. He as a priest, medicine-man, wizard or magician, acts to cure diseases, to reveal the future, to influence the weather, to decide cases and to take revenge from the enemy. Although most Shamans are men, the male Shaman frequently denies his sexual identity by assuming the dress and attributes of a woman. The Shaman leads a secluded life, practices various austerities, wears mysterious and symbolic garments and performs noisy incantations in which a sacred drum or enchanted rattle takes a leading part. On occasion, he should be able to foam at the mouth and enter into auto-hypnotic trance or fit, during which his soul is supposed to quit his body and travel to faraway places, typically over mountains, under the sea or under the earth, to contact and communicate with the mysterious spiritual world and render the destructive power of these spirits harmless. In this way, he shields the visible world (living things) from the effects of invisible forces (spirits).

Shamans may be classified in terms of quality and degree. Qualitative difference is based on the facial color of the Shaman and the kind of spirit communicating with him. “White Shaman is believed to have contact with a benevolent deity and the good spirits while “black Shaman with a wicked deity and the wicked spirits. Shamans, according to their powers, may be classified as great, intermediate and small. It is believed that the souls of the future Shamans are reared upon an immensely high tree in the upper world, in the nests at various heights. The greatest Shamans are brought up close to the top of the tree, the intermediate ones towards the middle and the smaller ones on the lower branches. The Shaman’s assistance is extremely necessary at three major events of life: birth, marriage and death. If a woman bears no child, then, according to the belief, the Shaman ascends to heaven and sends an embryo soul from the tree of embryos. After birth, the Shaman performs libations for the quick and healthy growth of the infant. When a death occurs, the Shaman catches the departed soul floating in the space and escorts it to safely reach the other world.

The Shaman, by birth, has certain marks which distinguish him from other men. He may have more bones in his body, additional teeth or extra fingers. Therefore, he does not become a Shaman simply by willing it but it is the supernatural beings that choose him. They call him before his birth. After becoming a Shaman, he sleeps for many days. During this long sleep, he, according to the belief, is cut into pieces by the spirits to count his bones or see other additional signs. After this, he is introduced to the “supernatural beings” and he symbolically ascends the “tree-up-to-the-heaven”. After this test is over, he is at liberty to exercise his authority as Shaman.” The fore-going all is well a pointer to the fact that the practice of Shamanism did not remain constricted to mere Gilgit-Baltistan. Instead, it has had roots in other areas like Central Asian Republics (CARs), parts of Russia and among other people inhabiting the giant mountainous regions of the world. It would be a trailblazing effort to delve deeper into the subject matter with a holistic approach albeit with reference to that still being practised in a part of Gilgit-Baltistan.

Related Article: Impact of Bon Relgion on Gilgit-Baltistan
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Livestock – the mainstay of mountain economy - II

By Syed Shamsuddin  

A survey dating back to 2005 unfolds that on average, each household keeps eight cattle heads; one bull, five cows and two calves in Gilgit tehsil. Milch cow yield averages about 3.10 kg milk per day with a lactation period of 11 and a half month. Area farmers openly graze their cattle in meadows and feed grass, shaftal and thinned maize stalks to cattle during summer and dry fodder (maize and wheat straw and dried Alfalfa) during winter season. However, some farmers also supplement cattle feed with dry breads, cotton seed cakes and choker (grinded wheat). Farmers face moderate fodder shortage during July-August and feed mulberry leaves. Thinned maize plants and weeds hoed from maize cropped for dry fodder. Farmers face severe shortages during winter and one third of them have to purchase dry fodder. Traditionally, livestock are fed on un-chopped fodder and straw with no stall-feeding being practiced. This not only results in loss of fodder but also causes contamination to it. 

In view of very small land-holdings, livestock grazing is a tradition of the area. Farmers not only graze their livestock in valleys but also shift them since the beginning of May or later, to distant alpine meadows. During summer, almost one-third (31 per cent) of the total cattle population area is shifted to meadows. The farmers do not shift their entire family while only one or two of the family members have to migrate along with their livestock. They take with them foodstuff and other necessities sufficient for a period of five to six months. They graze their livestock, manage and treat them too. They collect the milk and convert it into ghee. Some of the farmers send their livestock along other fellow farmers to upper alpine meadows for which they pay half of the ghee to them as grazing charges. Most of the area farmers openly graze their cattle for three-four months. 

In September, when the temperature gets cooler, then farmers start bringing their livestock to the lower meadows and villages. Livestock are freely grazed in villages till December. That is because the farmers cultivate wheat and Shaftal very late, from January to March. Livestock are fed on wheat straw, maize straw and lucerne (Ishpit) in rooms generally made of stones and mud from January till April. The farmers who rear both small and large ruminants usually mix their milk to make yogurt, butter, butter-milk and ghee. Milk marketing is an unknown phenomenon in the study area and farmers do not sell milk or its by-products save ghee. However, government has put in place milk sale price mechanism in Gilgit tehsil areas. With the onset of winter (October, November), cattle sale starts on account of the prevalent tradition called ‘Nasaloo’. During ‘nasalo’, animals are slaughtered and meat is dried for consumption during winter. In the survey area, cattle sale was reported by 29 per cent of the cattle. Most of the cattle herds (92 per cent) suffered from various diseases and 41 per cent of the cattle population suffered from various ailments the year before because of inadequacy of veterinary services hindered the proper and timely treatment of livestock. Farmers usually get the available medicines from local shops and treat the animals according to their experience. When some epidemic disease breaks out in meadows, it causes loss of hundreds of animals. The farmers can do nothing due to inaccessibility to proper veterinary facilities in the remote meadows. 

Survey results revealed improper feeding, unhygienic housing conditions, very low vaccination profile and untimely treatment of the diseased livestock as the main cause of high mortality rate in livestock. The livestock dispensaries were said to be inaccessible to all the livestock farmers for being remotely located. It came to the fore that allopathic treatment of diseased cattle was common in the survey area as being practiced by 62 per cent of the cattle owners. Herbal (desi) method of treatment was pressed into service 16 per cent of the respondents and the remaining 22 per cent did not treat their diseased cattle at all. As far as prevention of epidemic disease is concerned, only two per cent of the total cattle population was vaccinated the preceding year. Cattle mortality rate (8.18 per cent) was very high due to improper feeding, unhygienic housing conditions and untimely treatment of the diseased cattle. Goat-tending was reported by 87 per cent of the respondents. Goat ownership per household ranged from one to one hundred and ninety and on an average, each household kept 22 goats - two het-goats, 16 she-goats while one milch, one dry and thirteen pregnant and four calves. Eighty eight per cent farmers reported rearing of local (Jarakheil) breed of goats. While ten percent of the farmers raise cross- bred and two per cent betel breed. Average milk production per milch goat was 1.01 kg per day, with a lactation period of six months and 10 days. Thirty per cent of the sample farmers reported goat sale with average sale price of Rs2200 per goat. The area farmers shear their goats once in a year and made ropes (36 per cent) and rugs (30 percent) domestically. Annual hair production per goat herd was 11.72 kilogram. One half of the farmers surveyed graze their goats locally in valleys but the remaining half also shift their goat herds to distant pastures. 

During last summer, a majority of farmers (80 percent) shifted their entire herds and the remaining (20 percent) some of goats to pasture. Some cases of goat loss (two percent of the shifted) were also reported during herds’ stay in pastures. Most of the sample farmers (70 per cent) graze goats for three to four months. With free grazing in the valleys and meadows, farmers also feed mulberry leaves and Shaftal to goats. They feed them dry tree leaves and dried fodders (dry Alfalfa, maize and wheat straw) during winter. Some farmers also supplement goats’ feed with maize grains and dry breads. About 40 per cent of the total population of goats in the area suffered from various diseases last year. Some of the sample farmers (22 per cent) also raised sheep. Sheep ownership per household ranged from one to 62. On an average, each household kept 14 sheep including two rams, ten sheep and two calves. All the respondents reported rearing desi breed of sheep with average milk production of 0.78 kg/day and a lactation of five months and a week. 

During the year before, eighteen per cent of the respondents reported animal sale with a price of Rs935 per sheep. The sheep-keepers shear their sheep once in a year. They clean the wool and use it in quilts and also convert into yarn and make ropes, caps and Pattu/Shaals domestically or sell raw wool to local Pattu/Shaal makers. Annual average wool production per sheep herd was 9.57 kgs and wool price was Rs90 per kg. The sale prices of rope, casp and shaal were Rs 100, Rs 225 and Rs1200 respectively. Although all farmers openly graze their sheep in valleys during summer, (64 per cent also shift them to alpine pastures. A majority of the farmers (70 per cent) shift all and remaining (30 per cent) some of their sheep to pastures. Farmers feed Shaftal and fresh leaves, maize and wheat straw to sheep during winter. In addition, some of them also feed maize grains and dry breads to sheep. About sixty per cent of the sheep fell ill in the study area last year. Most of the sheep raising farmers allopathically treated their sick sheep and others (36 per cent) did not treat diseased sheep. In the survey area, vaccination against the epidemic sheep diseases was not administered and the mortality rate was 3.13 per cent. 

The survey further divulged that besides rearing milk animals, 18 per cent of the farmers also keep donkeys for transportation of luggage to the summer pastures and dry fodder/fuel-wood back to their homes. The breed of the donkeys was desi with the average animal price of Rs5000. Farmers openly graze donkeys for about eight and half months and feed wheat straw, dry Lucerne, maize grains during winter grass and Shaftal during summer. Forty per cent of the farmers reported ailment of donkeys from diseases like constipation, colic and strangles. Hen rearing was reported by almost all (92 per cent) of the areas farmers with an average flock size of 20. The sale price of non-laying hen and cock were around about Rs150 and that of egg-laying hen Rs200. Ninety per cent of the hen population in the area suffered from various diseases. The hen mortality rate was very high (58 per cent), the reason behind this was very low vaccination profile (9 per cent) of the hen flock. Most of the surveyed farmers (72 per cent) had education of primary up to matric and higher level and were well aware of the livestock production constraints. They seek vaccination of livestock against epidemic diseases (56 per cent), improved function of local dispensaries (48 per cent), artificial insemination (22 per cent) and introduction of improved breeds of livestock in the area (18 per cent). 

 The fore-going landscape calls for meticulous research-based endeavors in the context of livestock breeding to help prop up and sustain the mountain-farmers. The proposed zoning of the area and the hybridization process of jersy-yak combine, in the upper zone in simultaneous with popularizing jersey breed along the lower zone needs be undertaken at the earliest to bring about a positive transformation in mountain farming which becomes quite inconceivable sans livestock development to put it succinctly.What is all the more needed is according top priority to the re-introduction of Damani sheep across the whole region in a result-oriented manner. There is also dire need of augmenting to the existing set of the animal husbandry department which is to be found wholly devoid of a commensurate mechanism. The existing veterinary hospital for instance, at Gilgit, has had a set-up compatible with meeting requirements of decades ago while all the dispensaries of that era indispensably needed upgradation in all populous areas of this region to ensure fitting veterinary coverage to the livestock population.

Related article:
Livestock – the mainstay of mountain economy - I
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Livestock – the mainstay of mountain economy - I

By Syed Shamsuddin  
In G-B, quaint traditional livestock breeding still remains underway in the primitive pastoralist ways with almost all the farmers rearing the local, non-descriptive breeds of sheep, goats and cattle and poultry. Strivings remain underway by the relevant authorities to bring about positive change in terms are livestock and dairy development as testified by the establishment of a model dairy farm at Konodas, Gilgit in the vicinity of KIU where there is a jersey flock comprising 24 cattle heads (07 male, 10 miclh and rest calves) – all of original breed, says Dr Muhammad Naseer deputy director livestock and poultry development overseeing both the projects of dairy farming and poultry development. The adjacent hatchery with a significant yield of chicks of different breeds (both broiler and layers) which has this time round, produced 57000 to be provided to the farmers on subsidized rates in simultaneous with a significant quantity of eggs from the poultry farm being equally given to the dwellers of the city on subsidized rates, he said. It is to be remembered that a hatchery was established decades ago at Jagir Basin in Gilgit which did not obviously cater to the growing needs of the city primarily because of the mounting demographic pressures witnessed over the years which altogether changed the landscape. It is to be seen that research and reference assumes the centre-stage in the present era to overcome snags in the context of sustainable development. This culture has to be put in place by the relevant quarters with a view to help adopt and popularize innovative techniques to support the fragile mountain agriculture which in this region, is ironically characterized by its being merely at subsistence level.

In the prevalent system, where land holdings are scant and which still remain subject to further fragmentation due to horrific population explosion vis a vis the scarcity of per capita landholding, research-based meticulous efforts geared towards supplementing household income are needed with special focus on livestock and dairy development. Given its acute geography, the region may profitably be halved out in order to zone it into the upper and lower in keeping with the altitudinal phenomena obtaining in here. In the scheme of things, the first may include those areas which are lying at 6000 ft above sea and more while the latter to include all the low lying area below 6000 ft above sea, suggests Dr Aqil Hussain, an eminent local veterinary doctor with a diverse experience of sedulous work in the field having first served with AKRSP and later in the defunct Livestock Development Board at Gilgit which was established under the aegis of federal ministry of agriculture. As to centrality of livestock to mountain farming, it cannot be gainsaid that the one does not become complete without the other – something underscores the need of both to work synergistically and inexorably to make it gainful in terms of per capita income of the mountain dwellers. Needless to say that there must remain in place the culture of constant assiduous research in the relevant fields which is considered a sine qua non especially in the present era, to identify and analyze the key dimensions primarily responsible for the failures and how to overcome them effectively in making meaningful progress.

The first and the foremost viable option could have been the identification and sifting out the finest breeds from amongst the available regional livestock breeds to popularize them to meet the local requirements indigenously.

The existing research, if any, underway has therefore, to be more focused on innovativeness and understanding the constraint vis a vis opportunities in the field to translate such an understanding into strategies and eventual policy-making to improve livestock to benefit the regional poor farmers. In this sense, research and reference forms the bedrock of development which assumes all the more primacy in the peripheral mountainous regions like Gilgit-Baltistan where subsistence farming is rife. The proposition of zoning of the region into the upper and the lower as referred to in the above and going whole hog with the hybridization scheme of jersey-yak all across the upper zone including whole of Baltistan, Ishkoman, upper Hunza, Hopar-Hispar in Nagar, Bagrote, Haramosh etc., if popularized will bring about a revolutionary change in livestock development in Gilgit-Baltistan. Indeed, the hybrid (jersey-yak) would be substantially advantageous to the respective mountain communities.

Dilating upon this, it explained that the average milk yield of jersey cow per day is put at 15 kg while the milk yield of hybridized yak would almost half half of what jersey cow usually milks. The hybrid male, it is said, lacks fertility but nevertheless, in terms of meat, the sterile male hybrid can fetch unimaginable income in terms of meat when sold because of of its enormous size while ( yak-jersey) cow having fertility as well, could be an ideal milch in the high altitude zones. Obviously, such plans can be conceived and materialized by the government alone provided there be will and the relevant quarters are really determined to go ahead proactively. To the leading exponents of this scheme, argue that average milch-yak gives scant milk of say, 1.5 kg a day while prognosticating that the hybrid jersey-yak milch cow would give almost half of what a pure jersey cow gives. It is noteworthy that jersey cow gives about 15 kgs of milk per day as illustrated earlier while 50 per cent reduction will occur in the event of the hybridization. The introduction and popularization of this scheme would hugely profit and rather change the destinies of the respective communities in terms of milk and its by-products – something non-existent in the original yak flock.

On the other hand, the male hybrid could be sold at amazingly high prices. The methodology would stand viably in that Jersey could climatically adapts to cold regions like those in the upper zone while other species like Sahiwal do not acclimatize here. It is also worthwhile to mention that yak feeds round the year in high altitude alpine meadows and the owners do not have to feed them. Thus a hybrid (jersey-yak) cow will go uphill for grazing in the alpine meadows only to return with 6-7 kg milk daily – something the original yak lacks. This wonderful addition will certainly change the economic status of the respective owner. It is said that in Khaltaro village in Haramosh, each villager ordinarily owns 30 cattle heads in terms of yaks. If the proposed hybridization is introduced with firm governmental commitment to come to grips with the phenomenon of poverty among the mountainfolk, a sea-change in terms of economic development will be witnessed all across this region.

Alongside, introduction and popularization of angora breed too, especially in the upper zone areas would prove a great boon in that wonderful wooly goat originally to be found in Ladakh and Kashmir can be sheared annually and its wool used specifically in ‘shal-making’. One would remember that the respective department first introduced about a dozen perhaps such goats in this region decades ago but all in vain. There was absolutely no fruitful result perhaps because of dealing with the matter rather in a perfunctory way. What instead was required was the responsibility of the respective authorities to resort to constant monitoring of the progress if at all it was truly to be popularized across the region. This exactly will be the case with any other livestock breed if the progress at all goes unmonitored in the same nonchallant manner. In the rest of areas, the original jersey breed needs be popularized to help cope with the existing scarcity of milk in the region. But such programmes needs be implemented strictly in a result-oriented manner by putting in place an effective monitoring mechanism so that the outcomes are minutely evaluated consistently for positive transformation.
Last but not least is the need of re-introduction and popularization of Damani breed of sheep in this region. It is to be remembered that a scheme for the introduction of this breed was launched by the Agha Khan Rural Supports Programme (AKRSP) long ago. The flock they procured was later handed over to the animal husbandry department at Skardu. The scheme attached very much significance in terms of its immense profitability and popularization in this region. Damani sheep found in the D.I Khan area,very well acclimatizes in this region. The ewe yields 4-5kgs milk per day provided the finest breed of it is selected.Significantly, the fate percentage is put at 7 as against merely 3.5 of cow-milk. Sadly, the project launched did not achieve the results fully fundamentally because of flaws associated with its implementation.It is to be mentioned that all such families in constituting the mega poor segments with negligible landholdings, cannot even imagine to rear a cow which obviously needs a wider grazing area. The average family of this class having hardly a kanal or two of land cannot afford such a breeding while the Damani ewe almost yielding milk equivalent to that of a milch cow (4-5 kgs) can easily be bred by such families because its can be easily be fed in a limited area. Therefore, a scheme must be re-launched to genuinely popularize this breed. The project must envisage giving pregnant ewes to such mega poor families against a bond to be served by them inter alia that they return it whenever it may deliver while leaving the lamb to them. This is primarily because poor families might not be in a position to afford the cost of the ewe. In case if they may afford, it should be given to them on subsidised rates ane even against easy installments. There must remain a monitoring mechanism in place besides provision of rams to communities as well. This scheme attaches great importance hence needs be accorded top priority. Needless to say that defunct livestock development board had undertaken a programme initially providing 06 jersey bulls to some communities to facilitate cross-breeding but the programme launched by them ended with its eventual dissolution in the wake of the 18th Amenedment that resulted in devolution of powers to the provinces. But nonetheless, no efforts seem to have been made to resuscitate the same by the provincial government as yet despite the board having become dysfunctional and redundant about 3 years ago.Another heartening initiative remaining underway is the artificial insemination (AI) by the respective authorities since long. This programme has now to be made simply more focussed on the upper zone to make tangible results achievable.

Related article:
Livestock – the mainstay of mountain economy - II
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