Punjab CM gives nod to setting up viral vaccine production units to protect livestock from swine flu, other diseases

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh today gave in-principle approval for setting up of Viral Vaccine Production units to ensure better protection of livestock against critical diseases.

This decision was taken by the Chief Minister during a meeting with the Department of Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Dairy Development here. The units would help in protecting livestock against the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), swine flu and PPR disease common amongst goats, an official spokesperson said after the meeting.

He also directed the department to work on a detailed plan for establishing Disease Free Zones in certain areas, beginning from the international border and between the geographical boundaries stretching from Beas to Sutlej rivers, in order to give impetus to the promotion of trade between India and its neighbouring countries.

The Chief Minister asked the department to prepare a comprehensive action plan to introduce new practices of cattle breeding, elimination of cattle disease, and scientific production of milk and milk products as well as meat and meat products.

Earlier, the Chief Minister was apprised by Advisor (Animal Husbandry) Dr. B.K. Uppal about the vaccine for FMD, which is free from NSP antigen, with which Punjab would become the first state in the country to be free from foot and mouth disease. This will facilitate the livestock farmers of in the state to export their high breed cattle to the Middle East, and further boost their earnings.

During the meeting, Captain Amarinder asked the Animal Husbandry department to launch a vigorous campaign to promote piggery, goatry and fishery in a big way to encourage farmers to adopt these allied sectors in order to supplement their income. Stressing the need for value addition and diversification as the only way to enhance the earnings of farmers, he said there was dire need to motivate the farmers to go beyond production into direct marketing of milk and milk products, fish and meat & meat products.

Stressing on the need to leverage the latest reproduction technologies, Captain Amarinder asked the department to explore avenues to adopt superior In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), adding that it will lead to faster improvement as several oocytes of superior animals could be used for fertilization and embryo development.

Captain Amarinder directed the Department of Finance to provide all necessary financial assistance for the required infrastructure up-gradation in the livestock sector. He also underscored the need to strengthen the diagnostic laboratories to enable the veterinarians to identify the disease amongst the cattle in the initial stage. He also asked the Additional Chief Secretary (Animal Husbandry) to strengthen the existing nine Training and Extension Centres in Dairy farming across the state to impart skill training to youth so that they could take up dairy farming as a full-fledged profession.

The meeting was attended, among others, by Additional Chief Secretary (Animal Husbandry) Mandeep Singh Sandhu, Advisor (Animal Husbandry) B.K. Uppal, Director (Animal Husbandry) H.S. Sandha, Director Dairy Development Inderjit Singh and Director Fisheries Madan Mohan.