Sheep rearing Becomes lifeline of Himachal Pradesh economy:
Sheep rearing is slowly but steadily becoming a key component in strengthening the economy of the rural population of this hill state where opportunities are very less & land availability is limited. not surprisingly, sheep-rearing is the chief vocation of most of the farmers in the state. the drastic increase in the quantum of wool production testify to the popularity of sheep rearing among the rural population. the quantity of wool made rose to 1,600 tonnes of wool in 2000-2001 from 1,550 tonnes in 1999-2000. according to an official spokesman, over 35 per cent of the agricultural farmer families in the state are engaged in sheep rearing and ironically, most of them live in the snow-bound and tribal pockets of the state.
the total sheep population of the state is put at about 12 lakhs, he added. elaborating recent trends, he spoke about the declining demand for rampur bushairi and gaddi breeds, which were once favorite with the sheep rearers because of their less wool production of about one kg per sheep per year, as compared to about 2.5 kgs per sheep per year of good quality wool from cross breed sheep. the official said that the state government was also taking a keen interest to improve the quality and quantity of wool produced and quality rams were being supplied from departmental farms for study purposes to improve the breed of the locally available sheep. he said that wool analysis laboratories had also been set up at tal in hamipur districts, jeori in shimla district and sarol in chamba district to provide services available to farmers.