Chandigarh: The Punjab government has formulated an extensive policy to strengthen and improve the livestock thereby creating self employment avenues for the youth in the state.

At the first meeting of the State Advisory Committee of Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries in Chandigarh, Punjab Animal Husbandry Minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur said there is a need for developing poultry, piggery, fisheries and dairy development, with a view to improve economic prosperity of
farmers.

The government would also extend training facilities to farmers for piggery and production of improved exotic breed piglets for supply to pig farmers for rearing.

Quoting statistics, the minister said as per the latest livestock census carried out in the year 2007, there were 17.61 lakh cows and 50.04 lakh buffaloes in the state.

Out of this, the breedable cows and buffaloes were 10.31 lakh and 29.08 lakh, respectively. Punjab was a major milk producing state in the country with an annual milk production of 94.23 lakh tonne during the year 2010-11.

It contributes about 9 percent of the total milk production of the country though it has less than 2 percent of total cattle population of the country. Per capita availability of milk in Punjab was 931 grams which was the highest in the country, Phillaur said.

Referring to the import of superior quality germ plasm, the minister said that superior quality germ plasm from best bulls of exotic origin with yield of more than 12,000 litres per lactation would be imported for giving fillip to breed improvement programme.

This would result in increasing milk production to the level of 30 litres per day in cross bred animals, he added. For the development of fish farming in the state, the minister said there were 6,300 ponds developed by village panchayats and 2,500 private fish farms in the state.

(Agencies)

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