Farmers to be provided ‘NARI Suvarna’ rams as part of programme

: The State government has taken up an ambitious project to increase the population of sheep through an integrated approach of adopting improved rearing practices and introgression of twinning genes into sheep through ‘NARI Suvarna’ rams.

Official sources told The Hindu in Gulbarga on Tuesday that the Maharashtra-based Nimbkar Agriculture Research Institute (NARI) had successfully incorporated the Booroola gene, found in Garole sheep of Sunderbans in West Bengal, for twinning in the local Madgyal breed of sheep.

Sources said lambs born of the inter-mixed gene of Booroola and Madgyal breed, named ‘NARI Suvarna’ rams, can increase the number of lambs per lambing and attain more adult body weight than normal breeds.

Introducing the Nari Suvarna rams for breeding with local breeds of the State would help the State in increasing the sheep population and also dramatically increase meat production and improve the economic condition of shepherds.

Sources said the State government would select one taluk each from Tumkur, Belgaum, Chitradurga and Chikballapur districts which have a high concentration of sheeps. As per the 2007 livestock census 10.67 lakh out of the total 95.65 lakh sheeps were in Tumkur, followed by Chitradurga, Belgaum, Bagalkot and Bellary districts with 9.31 lakhs, 8.99 lakhs, 6.73 lakhs and 6.55 lakhs sheeps respectively.

In the selected taluks, 15 farmers would be selected possessing 30 breedable ewes and each of them would be provided one ‘NARI Suvarna’ ram on the condition that the farmer should not posses any other ram other than the ‘NARI Suvarna’ ram.

Out of the total cost of Rs. 45,000 for one ram, the Karnataka Sheep and Wool Development Corporation Ltd. would provide Rs. 35,000 as subsidy, and the remaining would be borne by the beneficiary.

Sources said lambs born with the Booroola gene would be procured from the farmer at a cost of Rs. 10,000 each and supplied to other interested farmers for the same cost for further breeding programmes. The estimated cost of the project is Rs. 2 crore.

In Karnataka there are four breeds of sheep including the Bandur breed found in Mandya, Mysore, Chamarajanagar, Ramnagar and parts of Bangalore Rural, Kolar and Chikballapur districts. The Bandur breed is known for its excellent mutton quality. The Hassan breed which is found in Hassan, Chikmagalore, Shimoga and parts of Tumkur districts; the Bellary breed which is found in Bellary, Koppal, parts of Raichur, Chitradurga and Tumkur districts. The Deccani breed which is found in Belgaum, Gadag, Haveri, Dharwad, Bijapur, Bagalkot, Bidar, Gulbarga, parts of Raichur and Koppal districts.

The contribution of the sheep sector the State’s Gross State Domestic Product was Rs. 1052.82 crore through sale of mutton, Rs. 47.25 crore through sale of skin, Rs. 11.23 crore through sale of wool and Rs. 83 lakh from droppings.

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