‘Existing bovine breeding policy needs to be revisited’
Cross-breeding is essential to improve the productivity of the bovine population but it should not be at the cost of bio-diversity.
There is a need to strike a balance between the economic expediency and sustainability, the native breeds are result of selection process over the centuries and are eminently suited to the climatic conditions. The wisdom of our ancestors in selection of the breeds cannot be dismissed offhand, Director Animal Husbandry and CEO of AP Livestock Development Association D. Venkateswarlu said.
The existing bovine breeding policy, announced in 2005, needs to be revisited and necessary changes made in it to meet the current and future requirements. The policy focused exclusively on productivity as dairying was considered an associated occupation of farming. Today many farmers are taking up dairying exclusively as a full fledged occupation and many corporates too have taken it up. The policy needs to be changed to suit the changed scenario. It has to be more flexible and be region specific and system specific.
The cross-breeds require some extra attention in terms of nutrition and climatic conditions. While providing the farmers hybrids with exotic bloodline, they should also be trained on the needs of the hybrids. The farmers need to be told the risk of feeding these hybrids with farm waste and high fibre feed. The indigenous breeds have a higher capacity to convert the low nutrition and high fibre content feed into milk when compared to the exotic breeds.
There are many who own Punganoor cows or Ongole bulls for the sake of prestige or reasons other than dairying. Out of ignorance they are diluting the bloodline by inseminating them with semen of other breeds. The Government should have the power to stop such acts. Just as everyone cannot breed tigers and peacocks at home, such endangered breeds should not be left at the mercy of individuals.
There is a need to give teeth to the authorities to curb the indiscriminate cross-breeding being conducted by inseminators. The policy needs to have clear directions on protection of distinct native breeds like Ongole, Punganoor, Deoni, Hallikaru and Sahiwal.
There is an urgent need to increase the awareness on the issue and train the inseminators and take steps to ensure that only licenced persons are allowed to take up insemination of bovine population, the Director said.