New Delhi, June 25 (IANS) In a bid to provide new avenues of revenue generation to farmers in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region, the government has decided to export live sheep and goats on a mass scale, an MP said.
According to Rajya Sabha MP Vikas Mahatme, sheep are reared in Vidarbha, which is known for highest number of farm suicides, for wool but not for meat.
“Farmers and shepherds tend not to sell their sheep elsewhere due to high transport cost involved. So we came up with a project to export livestock to provide a business opportunity to distressed farmers to add to their income,” said Mahatme, who comes from shepherd community.
The project will be launched by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on June 30, and envisages export of over one lakh sheep and goats to the UAE in first three months.
Mahatme, an eye specialist from Nagpur, said exporters were not ready to use Nagpur airport for the job since the city does not have quarantine facility, or a big slaughter house besides needing permission from multiple agencies.
“We took up the issue with (Union Commerce Minister) Suresh Prabhu and (Minister of State for Agriculture) Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. They addressed all concerns, which has make the project viable, Now, we have certified one exporter,” he said.
“Farmers and shepherds are certainly going to earn more through the export. As the demand will be created, more and more people will go for this business,” he added.
However, there is no clarity on the part of actual remuneration to the farmers.
According to the latest census, there are 45,000 sheep and 11 lakh goats in Nagpur and surrounding five districts, he said.
Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) and Air India will assist the government in the project, which will be later extended to other parts of the country, said Mahatme, adding the project will be brought under cooperative fold to streamline it.