Pashu Sandesh, 28th January 2020
Animal Husbandry Department of late has been in the focus at the Central Government with the formation of a separate ministry. This paradigm shift in the outlook well deserved by the Animal Husbandry department has opened new challenges in the States such as Madhya Pradesh where Agriculture plays an important role in the economy. Handling such a vast and perse Animal Husbandry department is always a challenge which has been well accepted by the new ACS Shri J N Kansotiya a 1989 batch IAS officer of MP cadre. Shri Kansotiya took the charge of the Department in May 2020 and since then navigating the department in the murky waters of CORONA crises.
Pashu Sandesh (PS) got in touch with Shri J N Kansotiya (JN) recently. Here are the excerpts of the interview:
PS: You took the command of the Animal Husbandry Department during these difficult times of COVID 19 and ensured continuous supply of Milk in the state. How are you managing the show?
JN: Yes it was a very challenging task and we accepted this challenge. At one end we have collected the milk produced by our farmers in rural areas on the other we have to process the milk and deliver it to consumers in urban areas. It all became possible due to the coordinated working of employees of our milk unions and local administration. From day one We streamlined the procurement, transport, processing and delivery of milk through constant monitoring and timely troubleshooting even at the micro-level. When everything was lockdown our milk plants and milk booths were still operational. We procured almost the same quantity of milk that we used to procure in normal days. Our aim was that farmers milk should not go waste. My department is dedicated to providing a market to milk produced by our farmers.
PS: Tough you are an administrator, how important is the animal husbandry sector in your view.
JN: In my view, animal husbandry is a very important sector as it provides income and nutritional security to millions of farmers especially the landless and marginal ones. The importance of this sector can be estimated by the fact that this sector contributes more than thirty per cent in the Agriculture GDP. Whether it is milk, meat or eggs, this sector plays a big role in providing food security to people. There is a big potential for employment generation in this sector. Goat rearing and poultry farming can be started with very low investment and provides good returns. Goat is the ATM of the poor. There is a big opportunity for everyone in this sector.
PS: Recently we have seen a lot of rumours and fake news in social media that corona spreads through the consumption of chicken and mutton. This badly impacted our poultry industry. What steps your department is taking to counter such nuisance of misinformation?
JN: Central government and our department have issued advisory and clarification on this issue. Till date, there is no report of spread of corona by poultry from anywhere in the world. Poultry products are safe for human consumption, further, they help to fight corona by boosting our immunity. Through mass media publicity we are spreading this message. We have also reported this to cybercrime cell of police for taking necessary action in this direction.
PS: what are the prospects of doubling farmers income through animal husbandry in the state?
JN: in Madhya Pradesh animal husbandry sector has a lot of potentials to increase farmers income. Animal husbandry department of our state is providing a conducive atmosphere to farmers for adopting various animal husbandry related activities like dairy, poultry, goatry. Various state and central government-sponsored schemes are being implemented in the state to help farmers to increase their income through animal husbandry activities.
There is a big potential in the poultry sector in our state. To harness the potential of poultry sector we are encouraging the private sector for commercial poultry and rural youths for backyard poultry production.
PS: Is the government providing some financial assistance in animal husbandry sector?
JN: finance is a big aspect of every business. we are providing financial support to our farmers through our various schemas like Vidhya Sagar go samvardhan yojna, poultry venture capital fund. We have received directions from central government that in-state credit plan every sector should be given weightage in proportion to its contribution in GDP. In this regard, we are in communication with banks to increase the credit flow in the animal husbandry sector. This will increase the availability of funds in the sector. Recently the government has extended the facility of Kisan credit card(KCC) to dairy farmers also. Our department is working in full swing to link the dairy farmers of the state with this scheme.
PS: Contract farming is increasing day by day in the poultry sector. What steps govt is taking to safeguard the rights of farmers?
JN: Our department is well aware of the developments going on in the poultry sector. To safeguard the rights of poultry farmers of our state we have established a dedicated poultry cell at our directorate in Bhopal. This cell will look after the grievances of poultry farmers and propose solutions for the same.
PS: What efforts govt is making to provide a market to our milk producers?
JN: Our department and milk unions are committed to providing a market to our milk producers. A new milk processing plant is coming up in Reva. A plant for panner production is coming up in Jabalpur. Very Soon we are going to launch our ice cream brand from indoor. Now We are focusing on value-added products of milk so that we can pay a promising price to our farmers.
PS: What govt is doing for management of abandoned stray cattle?
JN: The state government is having an ambitious plan to rehabilitate these cattle in gaushalas. Last year we planed to construct on one thousand gaushalas, out of which more than 700 are complete and above 400 are functional. This year also we have taken a target to construct 4000 gaushalas. Animal husbandry department is the coordinating agency in this project. rural development department is providing funds for construction, local bodies are looking after the operational part, health care facility is being provided by our department. Today the results of this project are visible on the ground level.