Students: Suhail Hameed,
Kamal Kumar Raj,
Mentor: Dr. Prem Felix Siril
Sheep rearing is a major supplementary agrarian activity in Himachal. It is estimated that as many as 37% of the agrarian population is involved in some or the other form of sheep rearing. Gaddis, the pastoral group that is involved in sheep rearing, migrate between lower and higher altitude regions of Himachal depending on seasons. This migratory sheep grazing is often accused by environmentalists as one of the major reasons of land erosion and destruction of biodiversity. Several government interventions over the years could not yet achieve any change in the migratory pattern of Gaddis. Sheep are used mainly as a source of wool and meat. Sheep are not milked usually in Himachal and there is scope to produce value added products from sheep milk, such as cheese, yoghurt etc. that are having increased demand in our country and abroad.
Value added dairy products from sheep can help the gaddis earn more from their flock and may convince them to change from migratory pattern of gracing to farm based rearing. The project aimed to develop indigenous technology for milking cows and making cheese and to train some farmers in using these. The pilot study helped to identify key challenges so that the same could be addressed in the future.