- Sheep husbandry was introduced in Uttarakhand in Tehri in 1939. Since then sheep and goat husbandry has become endemic to Uttarakhand and has emerged as a sustainable source of livelihood for the poor and marginal farmers of the state. Thus to promote and encourage scientific outlook towards sheep and goat husbandry in the newly formed state in 2000, Uttarakhand Sheep and Wool Development Board (USWDB) was envisioned and came into existence as a registered body under the Society Registration Act, (1860).
- The main objectives of USWDB is improvement in germplasm of livestock through implementation of breeding policy for Sheep, Goat and Rabbit (Gazette Notification 249/XV-1/2005, Dated 26th May 2005) and to facilitate increase in livelihood of the farmers through skill development.
- According to the 19th Livestock census, 2012 the sheep and goat population in the state is 3.69 lakhs and 13.67 lakhs respectively in the state. Since 2007 an upward trend of 26.98% and 2.40% has been observed in sheep and goat population respectively in the state. The total wool production in the state for the year 2014-15 was 4690 qtl. and the total meat production was 109 lakh kg. According to the 19th Livestock census 2012, the no. of households engaged in sheep and goat husbandry are 17032 and 187707 respectively. The sheep and goat farmers of the state are the welfare targets of USWDB who are to be brought under the mainstream of development by distribution of elite germplasm rams and bucks produced at 11 Govt. Sheep Breeding Farms, 03 Govt. Goat Breeding Farms and 05 Ram Raising Units.
- To achieve overall and integrated development in sheep, goat and rabbit husbandry in the state various strategies and schemes are being adopted by the board through our flagship projects-
- Implementation of 05 Mobile Veterinary Vans in the five sheep dense populated districts (Uttarkashi, Tehri, Chamoli, Pithoragarh and Bageshwar) under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY)
- Ahilya Bai Holkar Yojana for sheep and goat development
- Sheep and Wool Improvement Scheme (SWIS), CWDB Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India
- Integrated Livelihood Support Project (ILSP-IFAD)
These projects are also aiming to generate a new level of employment consciousness through the various exposure visits to central institutes, training modules and organization of camps at village level. As a result of our policy decisions progressive youth of the state are now coming forward with new visions of entrepreneurship (tinned cheddar cheese, mutton and chevon packing) in sheep and goat husbandry and are most willing to participate in state sponsored training schedules. Thus it is the onus on USWDB to get these positive developments going.
One of the major achievements for USWDB was in the year 2014-15 when Heat Synchronization and Artificial Insemination in sheep by liquid semen of elite Kashmir Merino Ram was successfully completed as a pilot project under Integrated Development of Small Ruminants & Rabbits (IDSRR) at Govt. Sheep Breeding Farm Shamaliti, Bageshwar. Apart from this, Biometric Registration of farmers has been introduced in the state by USWDB which will help us to prepare a database of each farmer to be uploaded in the important board web site.
Some of the issues to be worked upon and tackled by USWDB to achieve integrated and extensive growth in sheep and goat development in the near future are, Strengthening of Govt. Sheep/Goat Breeding Farms, introduction of latest technology and equipments at farms and field, timely purchase and marketing of farmer’s produce and to make the marginal farmers self reliant through formation of Self help groups, Producer Groups and Livelihood collectives.