A new poverty alleviation programme to benefit those under Below Poverty Line (BPL) has been launched, said P.K. Shukla, Joint Commissioner, Poultry, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Union Ministry of Agriculture, here on Thursday.

Explaining about the programme Dr. Shukla said under the ‘Rural Backyard Poultry Development Programme' endemic birds would be distributed to the BPL families. The programme was initially launched in Bihar, Kerala, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Sikkim in August last year. Under this programme birds that required minimum maintenance and feed, developed by the Indian Council of Agriculture and State Agriculture Universities had been distributed.

State governments should prepare a project and send a proposal to the Union Agriculture Ministry to implement this programme.

A total of 40,000 beneficiaries would be covered under the programme in the five States. In the 11th Five Year Plan the Ministry had fixed the target of beneficiaries to be 3.85 lakh people across the country, he said.

Both the non-governmental organisations and women self-help groups could participate in the programme for setting up mother units to raise the chicks.

For this interest free loan of Rs.36,000 would be given to them through NABARD.

The State Government should provide veterinary care for the distributed birds, he said, adding that it was for the first time a poverty alleviation programme had been implemented using the local birds and poultry.

More research on breeding, nutrition and health care of alternative poultry was the need of the hour, said N. Daniel Joy Chandran, Registrar, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS).

G.M. Lingaraju, Scientist ‘C', Department of Bio-technology, Union Ministry of Science and Technology and R. Prabakaran, Dean, Madras Veterinary College, were among those who spoke. The programme was organised by the Centre for Animal Production Studies, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University.

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