Yak farming gets a banking boost in Arunachal Pradesh

Yak farming gets a banking boost in Arunachal Pradesh

A bankable scheme for the yak rearers was developed by the National Research Centre on Yak

 Representative image. Credit: Getty magesI

Farmers rearing yaks in high altitude areas in Arunachal Pradesh may soon for the first time get credit support from banks as the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has approved a credit support scheme for them.

A bankable scheme for the yak rearers was developed by the National Research Centre on Yak (NRCY), an organisation under the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) situated at Dirang in Arunachal Pradesh. Dirang is situated at about 5,000-feet above sea level in the frontier state’s West Kameng district.

Yaks are a prized animal for farmers in the high altitude areas in the Himalayan region including Arunachal Pradesh. Over 10,000 households in Arunachal Pradesh earn their livelihoods by selling yak milk products, woolen clothes, meat, beside providing a mode of transport in the hard-to-reach areas.

Director of ICAR-NRCY, Mihir Sarkar said the credit plan was found to be feasible by the NABARD for credit support by the lead banks and has been included in the Potential Linked Credit Plans of Tawang, West Kameng and Shi Yomi districts of Arunachal Pradesh. “Banks have already shown interest for credit support for the profitable yak farming. This will be a shot-in-the-arm for yak husbandry and will boost the economic dividends of yak herders,” he said.

Declining interest among farmers in the past few years due to various challenges has led to decrease in population of yaks. “Although factors like in-breeding, cross-hybridization and unscientific farming practices have precipitated the worsening trend, disillusionment of younger generation due to the hardships of yak rearing is a major reason for mass desertion from the occupation and the consequent declining population,” Sarkar said.

The hardship in yak rearing, according to Sarkar, pertains mainly to the traditional trans-humance rearing, which involves the migration of the herder along with the yaks from lower to higher reaches during summers and the descent journey towards the start of the winters.

“The immense physiological and psychological hardships entailed vis-a-vis lower remuneration in the traditional system of trans-humance have pushed the younger people away from yak rearing. This calls for concerted efforts to promote sedentarization in yak rearing which involves rearing animals at a particular location in mid-altitude regions in a semi-intensive production system. In order to promote sedentarization, extension of credit support by the banks is crucial. The bankable scheme, therefore can be a game changer,: Sarkar said.

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