BHUBANESWAR: In yet another milestone for the State in indigenous animal breed registration, Manda buffalo, found mainly in Koraput region, has been recognised as the 19th native breed of buffaloes in the country. Native to the Eastern Ghats, Mandas are small sized sturdy buffaloes having a unique coat colour of ash grey and grey with copper colour hair. Lower part of legs of the breed is also light in colour with copper colour hair at knee. Besides, some animals are silver white in colour.
The buffalo has an isolated breeding tract and geographical distribution to hill ranges of Eastern Ghats and plateau of Koraput region. Both male and female of this breed are used for ploughing and agricultural operations in Koraput, Malkangiri and Nabarangpur districts. Sources said the germplasm and a detail survey of the breed were started by the Animal Resources Development department in collaboration with Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology under the leadership of the then director of ARD and senior IAS officer Bishnupada Sethi and animal geneticist Susanta Kumar Dash in 2009.
The findings of the project were put before the ICAR-National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources for recognition of the unique indigenous breed.Mandas are resistant to parasitic infection and less prone to diseases and can live, produce and reproduce at low or no input system. “Around 1,00,000 buffaloes of this breed are in the native tract mostly contributing to family nutrition of households and all the agricultural operations in the hilly terrain of the southern districts for generations,” said an official from the department.
He said the average milk yield of these buffaloes is 2 to 2.5 litre at a time with more than 8 per cent fat. However, a few of this breed also yield up to 4 litre. These buffaloes get matured at around three years and drop the first calf at four years. They give birth to a calf every 1.5 or 2 years for up to 20 years.With the national recognition, the official said efforts will be made by the Centre and State for conservation of the unique buffalo genetic resource. Steps will be taken to enhance their productivity through breeding strategy. The produce from the breed will also be made available at premium price to improve livelihood of the stakeholders in the native tract.
Earlier, both Sethi and Dash had contributed to register four breeds of cattle - Binjharpuri, Motu, Ghumusari and Khariar, two breeds of buffalo-Chilika and Kalahandi and one breed of sheep - Kendrapara.