Despite over 600,000 households consuming approximately 90,000 metric tons of meat such as beef, mutton, pork, and poultry every year, the state has witnessed a staggering gap in the demand and supply of meat.
To address the perennial problem of unemployment in Meghalaya, the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary (AH & Vet) Department has decided to begin enrolling educated youth into a livestock entrepreneurship and management programme, said AH & Vet Principal Secretary, G.H.P. Raju.
Speaking to The Northeast Today (TNT), Raju said the livestock sector offers employment opportunities, especially in a state where most residents consume meats.
Despite over 600,000 households consuming approximately 90,000 metric tons of meat such as beef, mutton, pork, and poultry every year, the state has witnessed a staggering gap in the demand and supply of meat, he said.
The principal secretary noted that the youth can be a boon to the industry because “the livestock sector can not only provide the much-needed platform to eke a livelihood and become self-dependent, but also boost the rural economy”. Given the dearth of jobs in the government sector, Raju said the AH & Vet Department is eager to collaborate with the Labour Department to encourage self-employment among the youth.
He further informed that the Government of India has introduced the National Livestock Mission for entrepreneurship and business skills development amongst the youth, especially for those residing in rural areas. In this regard, four major areas have been identified – piggery, goatery, poultry, and feed and fodder manufacturing – with funds accordingly being appropriated for shed construction.
Regarding infrastructure development, in the poultry business, subsidy for the construction of a shed amounts to almost INR 2,400,000. These amounts are about INR 5,000,000 for a goatery house, and INR 3,000,000 for a piggery house.
In the North Eastern Region, the National Livestock Mission is being implemented on a cost-sharing ratio of 90:10, while 100 per cent in the case of Union Territories.
Goatery and sheep have especially tremendous market value across the international border of Bangladesh, informed Raju.
“There is no ban on the export of mutton or live goat or sheep to Bangladesh,” said the principal secretary, calling it a “gold mine” for youth in the state.
To educate interested candidates for the program, the Labour Department has planned to collaborate with local farmers who have already established farms, and will enroll them as trainers. This program will be covered under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, informed Raju.
Although applications for enrolment will open by next Monday after a notification is issued and due verification and scrutiny are done, no amount has been earmarked for the state in particular or the Northeast in general by the Centre, as the amount of funds will depend on the number of applications by cooperative societies, self-help groups, farmers associations, and individuals.
“We are waiting for all colleges to reopen; we will be conducting awareness programmes in the degree colleges to make our youth aware about the employment and economic potential of livestock in our state,” Raju said.