Jammu: Principal Secretary, Animal and Sheep Husbandry Department, Navin Kumar Choudhary, held a meeting regarding Memorandum of Cooperation between Jammu and Kashmir Animal and Sheep Husbandry Department and High Commissioner/Ambassador for New Zealand on capacity building and transfer of know-how for enhancing sheep wool and meat industry in the Union Territory.
The meeting was attended by Directors Sheep Husbandry Jammu and Kashmir, Dr Sanjeev Kumar and Dr Abdul Salam, Director Finance, Animal and Sheep Husbandry Department, Imtiyaz Wani, Director Planning, Animal and Sheep Husbandry Department, Girdhari Lal, besides participants from New Zealand including Acting HOM, Brent Rapson, Director, New Zealand G2G, Mischa Mannix-Opie, New Zealand Trade Commissioner for South Asia, Ralph Hays, Commercial Manager, G2G, Matthew Hall, Business Advisor, G2G, Peter Bull, Senior Business Development Manager, New Zealand High Commission Sudha Palit.
During the meeting, a brief power point presentation was given by J&K team depicting existing scenario of sheep and goat sector in the Union Territory pinning focus on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities besides threats of the sector. Besides, the participants were informed about the existing resource base of the UT besides were apprised about the envisaged vision of the Government of J&K.
Choudhary informed that one third of the demand of mutton is imported from neighbouring states to meet consumer requirement. He added that the small ruminant sector in the UT has not evolved at the desired pace over the years which has been precipitated by various factors like dearth of fodder supplies, insufficient breeding cover, inadequate vaccine availability and lack of modernization besides technological interventions which have been adopted in other parts of the world especially New Zealand. He emphasized that though J&K is a green state, it still has to rely on fodder supplies from comparatively drier states.
Choudhary said that J&K Government has already initiated steps for revamping the sector and shall not hesitate in taking further steps in collaboration with New Zealand G2G for revamping the sector further by infusing modern technological interventions into the sector. He reiterated that J&K has a liberal policy environment and all hurdles in way of strengthening of sheep sector shall be removed.
Brent Rapson, Acting HOM, welcomed the initiative and considered the MoC as a tool to strengthen bilateral relations between the Jammu and Kashmir Animal and Sheep Husbandry Department and New Zealand Government to enhance cooperation in the fields of capacity building, technology transfer, education, and training between the two countries. He was keen to cooperate and collaborate with J&K and offered full support from the New Zealand G2G.
Ralph Hays, New Zealand Trade Commissioner for South Asia expressed satisfaction and agreement with the scope of MoC and expressed keen interest to work with the Government of J&K.
Peter Bull, Business Advisor, G2G expressed the desire to take a series of further discussions wherein finer details could be worked out. He informed about the expertise of New Zealand in lamb production which can be extended to the UT of J&K.
Choudhary laid focus on making J&K self reliant in mutton production in next 3-5 years, corroborating on the point put forth by Peter Bull. He emphasized that the expertise of New Zealand can be utilized to enhance mutton production of J&K which eventually shall have a foot fall on by products also, maintaining that mutton is the primary requirement. He said that core competence of New Zealand to grow more lambs is perfect for J&K adding that wool and hide which are by products of mutton production can also be looked into during further discussions that shall involve branding and marketing of these products.
Choudhary, while concluding the meeting emphasized to strengthen the bilateral relations between J&K, India and New Zealand G2G. He also informed that the Union Ministry of External Affairs, has been taken on board and they also are of the opinion that this MoC shall lay a strong foundation for bilateral cooperation between the two nations besides serving as an important cog in the development of sheep sector in J&K
Both the participants evinced mutual interest to improve and enhance sheep meat/wool production besides strengthening areas of capacity building, technology transfer and greater education and training for J&K.
Choudhary assured that after getting a legal opinion about the MoC, he shall push the MoC forward.