Chamaraj nagar: The Male Mahdeshwara wildlife division of the forest department took up new initiative to support farmers, thus making them to be less dependent on the forest.
This novel project is the brain child of MM hills wildlife wing DCF V. Yedukondalu. Speaking to News Karnataka on Thursday July 29, he said that the project is first of its kind in the country to develop desi cattle breed Hallikar and organic milk and ghee.
He said, “according to an understanding between forest department and villagers, the dairy will be set up in Ponnachi, which will be run by milk producers on cooperative basis.” He said that Rs 20 lakh investment is needed to set up dairy for packing machinery and building, which will be collected from donors and as share capital from villagers. All the members are owners of the dairy, the forest department assisting them to rear Hallikar breed cattle. Day by day, the demand for organic produces is on rise. But there is no availability of produces in market now. He said, “followed by strict guidelines of law, cattle are not allowed inside wild life sanctuary.” He added that the project also plans to support farmers to grow grass in their fields by providing a bore well facility.
He said that the dairy will pack and market the produces under brand name of Hallikar organic ghee. The department will assist for marketing. The Ponnachi village has more than 1500 Hallikar breed cattle.
Chamarajanagar district is one of the backward districts of state and has a large number of small and marginal farmers. Dairy farming provides good returns and also provides employment for farming women. Thousands of families are depending upon dairy for livelihood but so far there is no brand. The initiative of forest department would strengthen dairy farming in district, along with the economy of farmers.