Staff Reporter

Touch screen facility for farmers inaugurated

MADURAI: A conservation programme to protect the fast declining indigenous animal breeds has been taken up by the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS) in the interest of `preserving' local cattle and sheep varieties.

The `breed preservation' work is taken up in association with the National Institute of Animal Genetic Resources, Karnal, which provides its expertise in protecting animal varieties and also their promotion among farmers.

Talking to reporters here, N. Balaraman, Vice-Chancellor, said that at least 10 breeds would get their immediate attention in the State. They included `Kangeyam', Coimbatore Black, and other cattle/sheep varieties.

Dr. Balaraman was speaking after the inauguration of a new building for Veterinary University Training and Research Centre and a touch screen facility for farmers at Tirupparankundram near here.

He said the university was also involved in a project that computerised breed descriptions and facilitated DNA study analysis besides a semen bank as "all these become important in the context of local breeds gradually fading out in villages."

According to him, the preservation work is implemented by involving villagers who would be motivated to grow indigenous animal breeds with technical support from the university.

The Vice-Chancellor said that the university was regularly receiving developmental grants from the Indian Council for Agricultural Research for more infrastructure and student amenities. The Department of Bio-Technology, Department of Science and Technology and National Diary Development Board were also providing financial assistance.

Earlier, addressing a large number of farmers, he said that TANUVAS was keen to establish direct contact with rural people and `lab-to-land' was its focus area. He mooted more industrial linkages between the university centres in districts and industries so that training in value-added products could be provided to farmers.

Dr. Balaraman inaugurated a touch screen information kiosk established in association with Dhan Foundation, a voluntary organisation, involved in rural development.

D. Kathiresan, Professor and Head, Veterinary University Training and Research Centre, Madurai, spoke about the active participation of farmers in training programmes and demonstrations organised by the university.