In a first, Australian Merino sheep to breed in Uttarakhand

In a first, Australian Merino sheep will be imported to Uttarakhand.

Under the National Livestock Mission, the central government approved funds to three states — Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu Kashmir — for transporting Merino breed from Australia.

The project approved for the state is of Rs 8.5 crore in the ratio 90: 10 (Centre:state), of f which, the central government has released its share Rs 7.65 crore until November 2018. The remaining 10% will be incurred by the state.

The cabinet on Wednesday approved the transportation of the sheep. For this, tenders would be floated within a week and the Australian Merino sheep is likely to reach the state in April. As per the plan, 40 male and 200 female sheep would be brought in the first go.

“The Merino sheep would be first quarantined in Australia and kept under observation for a month. Then it will be transported to Delhi where they will be quarantined again. Following which they will be brought to Uttarakhand and will be kept in Government Sheep Breeding Farm in Ghansali, Tehri,” Avinash Anand, chief executive officer, Uttarakhand Sheep and Wool Development Board, said.

For two generations, the sheep would be reared in the farm. From third generation, they will be given to farmers with a clause that the pure blood breeding should not exceed 75% of the population.

Between 1938 and 1993, the state brought in several foreign breeds from countries, including Russia and America. For the past 25 years, no foreign breed has been brought to the hill state.

Board officers also visited Spain and held discussions with officials from the industries and textiles tapping the demand of wool. It was realised that 90% of the wool demand is of Australian Merino.

“The textile industries are mainly using Australian Wool,” Anand added.

First Published: Jan 10, 2019 14:40 IST

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