The Indian Army shut down military farms — which were functional for the last 132 years — across the country on Wednesday.
“After 132 years of glorious service to the nation, curtains were drawn on this organisation,” said the Indian Army.
The force said that all the officers and workers emplyed in the military farms have been redeployed and would continue to serve the organisation.
During the closing ceremony of the farms in Delhi, Lieutenant General Shashank Mishra said: “The military farm is ending its services. The first farm was established on February 1, 1889 in Allahabad and by the time we got Independence in 1947, India had 130 such farms. At that time it was highly beneficial for us as the White Revolution had not begun. Verghese Kurien had started the Operation Flood in 1970.”
The farms were set up with the sole requirement of supplying hygienic cow milk to the troops billeted in various garrisons across British India. After Independence, military farms flourished with 30,000 heads of cattle in 130 military farms set up all over India under varied agro-climatic conditions.
Military farms were even established in Leh and Kargil in late 1990s, with an aim to supply fresh milk to the troops in those areas on a daily basis.
Another major task was management of large tracts of defence land, and production and supply of baled hay to the animal holding units.
For more than a century, military farms with their dedication and commitment supplied 3.5 crore litres of milk and 25000 MT of hay yearly.
The farms are credited with pioneering the technique of artificial insemination of cattle and introduction of organised dairying in India, providing yeoman service during the 1971 war, supplying milk at the Western and Eastern war fronts as well as during the Kargil operations to the Northern Command.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, they established “Project Freiswal”, credited to be the world’s largest cattle cross-breeding programme.
They also teamed up with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for producing bio-duel.
There were over a 1,000 employees who were maintaining 39 farms spread across 20,000 acres. Till two years ago, the Army maintained over 25,000 cows.