Assam is a milk deficient state. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recommend 208 grams’ milk per head per day. Let us observe the per capita availability of milk for the state of Punjab-1035 gm/day, Assam-70 gm/day and India (national average)-337gm/day. The given data shows that Assam is having very less capita availability of milk compared to national average and Punjab. This value is also too less than the ICMR recommended value of required milk for health.
When we think about our past, when we were children, probably our parents used to give us sufficient amount of milk to drink because every family reared at that time.Present day working generation should realise the fact that they are depriving their aged class and children from having milk as per their need. Due to scarcity of fresh milk in the markets of Assam, nowadays many economically sound families provide tetra packed milk to their children and aged members which is not as good as fresh milk. This situation in other words tells us that there is a lot of potential for business of milk and milk products in Assam. Because of this, Asia’s largest milk co-operative society AMUL is planning to start business of milk and milk products in Assam as per report published in newspaper.
Today our young generation has become economic conscious and try to earn more money. As it seems earning money by doing work in animal rearing and other agriculture sector is harder and risker than doing work in other sectors. For this, many people are going outside the state in industries and earn more money than what they could earn from agriculture and cattle rearing. As they have to leave their home, it has become nearly impossible to keep and rear any animal in their house and hence they have to sell their animals. But when observed minutely, it is found that most families in Assam today, have to buy each and every food commodity whether it is cereal, pulses, vegetables or fruits from market which were earlier at every home in villages. Demand has become more than supply. Once tomatoes were discarded at road as nobody bought it, but now it’s price is around 80 per kilogram. Inflation is increasing day by day. The vegetables do not grow as before may be due to lack of cattle dung which makes land fertile.
Working in industrial job in a hazardous atmosphere, gradually deteriorates health. Agriculture and cattle rearing job is better than industrial job from this point of view. In such scenario, it is the need of the hour to resort back to cattle rearing and other livestock rearing. Cattle rearing will provide milk for the whole family as well as money by selling the milk. As our indigenous cattle gives less quantity of milk, one can take help of cross breeding by artificial insemination available in veterinary dispensary. May consult veterinary doctor in this regard. Those who can afford or can take loan may buy exotic or cross bred cattle to produce higher quantity and quality of milk and earn money.
Now for cattle rearing, fodder production to feed the cattle is essential. As the volume of grazing lands is decreasing day by day, it has become very difficult to rear cattle as before in Assam. rice straw, which is abundant in Assam, can be used as a cattle fodder. The food value of this can also be enhanced and the technique for this can be acquired through training. One may consult veterinary doctors for guidance for this. The farmers can cultivate and produce fodder like azolla, silage etc. as the land and rainy climate is suitable for them and earn extra money by selling them.
In some other state like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh etc. where there is scarcity of drinking water for animals, they have to face a lot of problems for this. But Assam is blessed with plenty of drinking water and we never feel any scarcity of water to rear animals.
Marketing of milk and milk products in Assam is not a problem and it can be sold very easily. By product of cattle rearing is cow dung which is good manure for cultivation. Nowadays production cost of agricultural products have raisedeventually due to the use ofcostly chemical fertilisers and insecticides in farming. But if we rear cattle, we will get cattle dung which can be used as manure and we will be able to produce agricultural product without using chemical fertilisers. Moreover, if we install gobar gas (biogas) plant we can use them for cooking food and can also be used for electricity and our cylinder cost will be saved with intake of efficient milk-all family members will be healthy and this will reduce the medical cost expenditure of the family. Compost manure can be sold like chemical fertiliser in the market as packed products.
Due to busy life, nowadays, people used to feel lonely; even among the big families. Modern people has mentally become critical nature and unbelievable even within the family. This creates a feeling of loneliness in their mind and people used to suffer from depression. Cattle can become true friend and companion of people as like a faithful dog. If they are served properly they will give milk and gradually cattle will be multiplied and more money could be earned. They may become true friends at the of distress. For on the spot, I approached a retired couple who reared a cross breed cow. The man is a retired army personnel and his wife is a retired teacher. After the marriage of their two daughters, they felt lonely. They are rearing a cow and taking care by themselves.
When asked why they are rearing the cow by doing so hard work as both of them were retired persons, they promptly replied that the cow has become like a family member and companion for them. They do not feel loneliness in presence of the cows and its calf. Moreover, it is their earning source which faithfully giving them services. By using dung as manure, they have become successful in producing different vegetables in a small plot of land near their houses which can meet their requirements.
If we have means to earn lot in our own place, there will not be any need to leave our old parents in old age home and all can be lived a happy life in happy family. Cattle rearing may be one means, rather a profession from which we can earn from small scale to large scale of products and earn money. The highly educated class of people can also accept this as profession. If AMUL can become Asia’s largest cooperative, there will be no reason why Assamese cannot be able to make big milk producing company.
We, the veterinarians are always forward helping hand to the farmer for rearing of animals. To treat the animals in diseases, minimise the mortality rate, help them to bring the animals under insurance, taking loans from banks etc. veterinarians are always helpful. Animal husbandry is as much necessary as agriculture as they are interrelated. The land of Assam is generally producing one crop, i.e. rice but it can equally produce rabi crops like wheat, maize, pulses vegetables, fruits etc. by using cattle dung as manure and earn money, the plants of these crops may be used as fodder of the cattle.
Think deeply- “People take the grain from agriculture as food and the by-product-plants residue, which is waste for the people, give to the cattle. They use them as food and in return what they give to us? Milk- world’s best food. They pull our burden. Let us become thankful to cattle and serve them. They will give us selfless service. Government may help the farmers to provide the required machineries to produce more agriculture products and fodder.If agriculture is necessary, animal husbandry is also equally necessary. Therefore, it has become a social responsibility for the young earning generation to adopt cattle rearing in modern scientific way and take it as profession. Then only it will be possible to bring the per capita availability of milk of our state in national level standards and give the people of Assam sufficient fresh milk as per the need. They may also start milk products industry. This will help our people from becoming victims of drinking adulterated milk. This has become a moral responsibility for the veterinarians to encourage the people to adopt cattle rearing in scientific way.
Let us say “Jai Pashupalak; Jai Pashupalan”.
(References are available on request)
~Nilam Jyoti Nath, 1st Year, B.V.Sc. & A. H., Lakhimpur College of Veterinary Science, Assam Agricultural University, Joyhing, North Lakhimpur, Assam- 787051, India. Email ID: firstname.lastname@example.org, Cell: +91-9101221903.