Has the state government employees’ agitation in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of the state had any effect on the production of the livestock, particularly in the dairy sector?
‘Yes’, say officials in the animal husbandry department but clarify that the effect could not be quantified as the impact of the agitation, along with other factors, can only be felt in the coming days.
They explain that though there has been no immediate effect on the milk production, the breeding of of milch cattle, including the buffalo and cow, production of fodder and several other government schemes have been affected.
‘’Breed improvement programme is the most affected government schemes due to strike of veterinarians and para-veterinarians for the past two months. Under the programme, artificial insemination is an important aspect. With no vets or para vets to perform the same, dairy farmers would either skip the breeding cycle altogether or they would resort to crossing of their cows with bulls available on hand. In the first case, there will be no calves, affecting the population of the milch cattle and in the second case, the quality of the animal reproduced would come down,’’ explained a higher official of the animal husbandry department.
According to him, the normal breeding season of the buffalo, the dominant milch cattle in the state, is between August and January and artificial insemination is the preferred method among the dairy farmers for getting a better pedigree. Now, a valuable two months of that time has been lost, he said.
Lack of supervision on the part of officials of the department will surely effect fodder development programme, resulting in loss of both quality and quantity of the fodder cultivated. Other government schemes too have been affected because of the strike.
However, officials say that health of the animals will not be affected as the vets or para vets would be attending all emergency services, though unofficially. ‘’Even during Sakala Janula Samme in the Telangana region, the situation was the same. Both veterinarians and para veterinarians are integral part of the farming community. Their ties with farmers are very close. Hence they render their services even unofficially when the farmers need them. Irrespective of the region, interests of the farmers are paramount,’’ explained another official in the animal husbandry department.
Out of 2,859 veterinarians and about 5,000 para vets in the state, about 65 percent are in Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra. Of them, 70 to 75 percent have been on strike for two months.