ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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KERALA-False Hopes from Delhi

centres were opened and manned by supervisors, some of whom had been trained in Australia; sheep farms for raising quality rams were started; Russian Merino rams were imported for cross-breeding and when they proved ineffective in the desert heat, they were kept at Mount Abu; and through the Government of India and the ICAR, research work on sheep (including for developing an Indian Merino sheep) was initiated at Jodhpur and Malpura. However, none of these measures had the expected impact on sheep farming in the dry areas. The principal reason was that most of these measures were far removed from the realities of sheep raising in dry areas. The expenditure incurred per sheep in Research Institutes at times exceeded the per capita expenditure on human beings in the shepherd's family; the infrastructure, from the sheep and wool department to the wool grading centres, created for sheep development ignored the nomadic and semi-nomadic character of sheep enterprise in these areas. Where the seasonal out-migration of sheep to neighbouring states is unavoidable due to fodder and water constraints, facilities designed largely for fixed-location type of enterprise were bound to remain underutilised and ineffective. For example, wool grading centres could help the farmers in proper grading of wool for higher income, but this facility can be of no avail if, at the time of shearing and marketing (particularly during the summer), the herds of sheep are hundreds of miles away from these centres.

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