Srinagar: A project to benefit nearly 30,000 tribal sheep-farming families over a period of three years by providing skilling, financial assistance, infrastructure and marketing support has been finalised by the Jammu and Kashmir administration, an official said on Thursday.
The project, finalised by the J&K’s Tribal Affairs Department and Central Wool Development Board under the Union Textiles Ministry, will be launched in October this year after detailed deliberations, an official spokesman said.
The proposal of Tribal Affairs Department, supported by the CWDB, includes establishment of two common facility centres (CFC) at an estimated cost of Rs 10 crore. One CFC each in Jammu and Kashmir provinces will be equipped with modern machinery for wool sorting, processing, grading and packing.
The department is rolling out plan to train nearly 30,000 tribal sheep farmers in mechanised sheep shearing which will lead to increase in wool production, improvement in quality of wool and reduced cost of shearing.
Mechanical shearing units worth Rs 2 crore have been included in the project which will be provided to tribal Farmer groups. Each group will be provided machinery up to Rs 3 lakh.
Establishment of wool mandis at three locations and more than 40 centres for wool collections and transit support have been approved under the project.
Other components include the market intervention and support scheme as well as development of portal for expanding wool sale network. Farmer Produce Organisations and SHGs are to be constituted under the project to avail benefits under various components of the project.
Secretary, Tribal Affairs Department, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, in a detailed presentation, highlighted the potential of tribal wool as sheep population of nearly 25 Lakh, migrating to highland pastures and in absence of value addition and marketing facilities the tribal farmers do not receive attractive returns.
Interventions under the project will provide massive opportunities for sale of wool and wool products with direct benefit to the sheep breeders, he said.
The tribal affairs department has already provided 20,000 sheep to tribal farmers over last year and half under specific intervention through mini Sheep Farms through Sheep Husbandry Department.
Apart from expanding the sheep population the department is focusing on marketing of wool to ensure an organised market for optimum returns to sheep farmers.
Training will be conducted by Tribal Research Institute in collaboration with Universities and institutes of excellence in sheep husbandry sector.