Textile Ministry steps in to protect Pashmina farmers and their livestock in the face of unprecedented snowfall in the Ladakh region this winter

To address the fallout of unprecedented snowfall in the Changthang region this winter which left 22,000 goats dead, the Ministry of Textiles has launched a major drive to save the Pashmina goats and focus on development of Pashmina in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.

It had earmarked funds last year for feed supplement and extended coverage period from 90 to 150 days to save Pashmina goats during exigencies. The funds for purchase of feed and fodder under Nutrient Supplement Scheme (IWDP) for pregnant and weak goats during the year 2012-13 in favour of the nomadic people of the region helped save lakhs of livestock from starvation in normal weather conditions. However, the recent unprecedented snowfall has taken a heavy toll on the livestock.

In a bid to take care of such natural calamities in future, the Ministry has launched a major programme for development of Pashmina and Pashmina developers in Ladakh region during the 12th Five Year Plan. Under the Plan, it would provide assistance for setting up Pashmina goat pens for protecting flocks and providing portable tents, snow-boots, torches and goggles. For this, the Ministry has adopted a participatory approach involving all stake holders including the end beneficiaries. “Livelihood of Pashmina farmers and avoiding disruption of economic activity in this important region is one of our foremost priorities,’’ Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister, Anand Sharma said.

The plan envisages a new Pashmina Wool Development Scheme with a special package and a financial allocation of Rs. 41.21 crores. In addition to protection measures, the main components of the scheme includes assistance for foundation stock in new areas for Pashmina rearing activities; health coverage and feed supplement, strengthening of existing fodder bank/farms, establishment of multipurpose extension centre and Pasture Farm on migratory routes, focus on training, research and development of Pashmina, internationally known by the brand name ‘Cashmere’.