Scientists at Birsa Agriculture University (BAU) are smitten by the goats of Bengal, particularly those found in the Howrah region. And now they will be working towards rearing a similar breed across the state.
Ranchi Veterinary College (RVC), under BAU, has been awarded a Rs 1.18 crore project by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi, under the Union agriculture ministry to assess the productive efficiency of goats in Bengal and to help Jharkhand develop a better breed that would be more suitable for the state.
Of the total project cost, 25 per cent would have to be borne by the state while ICAR would fund the rest.
Sant Kumar Singh, the head of department of animal nutrition and genetics, Ranchi Veterinary College, told The Telegraph that the project would also cover studies on the socio-economic status of goat breeders in Jharkhand and suggest concrete steps on the transfer of technology from the university labs to farmers.
Initial research studies carried out by BAU hinted that goats found in the Howrah area of Bengal are good — in terms of their productive capacity, meat and skin.
Singh said that though goats were also found in the Gurdaspur region of Punjab and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, the ones in Bengal are the best breed.
However, the only disadvantage is that their growth rate is quite slow vis-à-vis their Punjab counterparts.
Now that ICAR has awarded the project to BAU, extensive research, including field trials will be conducted by the Ranchi Veterinary College on the goats of Howrah.
The RVC head of department pointed out that in Jharkhand goats are preferred mostly for their meat and mutton rules a high price in all markets — urban and rural.
In cities, the craze of chicken has caught on with the health conscious and many avoid red meat altogether. But across the rural countryside, mutton is still popular and rearing goats can help farmers increase their incomes, he added.
June 11 , 2009 / Telegraph