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Guru Angad Dev Veterinary & Animal Sciences University’s scientists awarded a research project of Rs. 232.15 lakhs from Ministry of Dairying, Animal Husbandry and Fishery, Government of India under National Livestock Mission. In this project scientists will conduct research for next 3 years to develop a sustainable intensive sheep farming model for mutton production to diversify current paddy-wheat cropping system in Punjab.

Dr. Amit Sharma, Principal Investigator of the project, apprised that sheep in Punjab were traditionally reared under extensive or semi-intensive grazing system for wool production but over the last three inter-census periods between 2007 to 2019, the sheep population decreased from 220 thousand to 85 thousand at an alarming rate of 6.16 % annually. Degradation and loss of natural grazing resources associated with rapid urbanization, industrialization, paddy-wheat based crop intensification and decreased wool demand are the main reasons for loss of this important livestock species. This project aims to revive lost livelihood opportunity in sheep husbandry of rural population as per current socio-economic requirement and situation.

Dr. JPS Gill, Director Research, informed that recently GADVASU along with NBAGR, Karnal has identified and registered only sheep breed of Punjab “Kajali”. Being one of the heaviest sheep breeds, Kajali has great potential for mutton production. But there is urgent need of conservation and propagation of this only registered sheep genetic resource of Punjab.

Dr B K Bansal Dean, COVS, Rampura Phul stated that under this project a Kajali sheep training-cum-demonstration unit will also be established at Veterinary College Rampura Phul to impart hands on practical training to the farmers for promotion of scientific sheep production in Punjab.

While congratulating and applauding the efforts of the research team, Dr. Inderjeet Singh, Vice-chancellor informed that sheep can efficiently convert poor quality paddy and wheat straw to high quality animal protein source.  So, ever-increasing meat demand, offers big opportunity to farmers to take up intensive Kajali sheep farming, not only for their income augmentation but also to mitigate multiple environmental issues.

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