Livestock: To discourage dairy famers in Khatoed and Khamoed gewogs from keeping animals on the ground floor, the livestock division in Gasa has been providing cement and CGI sheets to help construct cattle sheds near their houses.

The subsidy was part of the 11th Plan and also the dzongkhag’s annual performance agreement (APA), said livestock officials. Last week the livestock offices in two gewogs distributed cement and CGI sheets to 21 dairy farmers in Khamoed gewog and three in Khatoed gewog, officials said.

They said that as per the dzongkhag’s APA, dzongkhag has to distribute this subsidy to 19 farmers this year. Distributing such a subsidy is aimed at protecting animals from the harsh weather conditions of Gasa, to help boost milk production and also to facilitate animal welfare. This move is also to ensure clean milk production, said livestock officials.

The subsidy was provided only to dairy farmers working towards rearing better cattle, while those without cattle and gungtongs were not entitled to the subsidy, officials said. Each dairy farmer was given 14 bags of cement and 18 pieces of CGI sheets.

There were various other subsidies under livestock to encourage clean milk production and meet international standards, said officials. The livestock division has also provided aluminum milking buckets to famers having dairy cows in Khatoed and Khamey gewogs. It is to do away with home made milking buckets and rubber buckets, officials said. One of the objectives of providing such subsidies is not just to help increase the quantity but also to help improve quality, Gasa’s livestock officer said.

Khamoed’s livestock extension officer, Yeshey Wangdi said as of now they have distributed cement and CGI sheets to more than 75 dairy farmers in Khamoed.

In Khamoed, the subsidy was given to the members of dairy groups. There are three dairy groups: the Khailo dairy group that has 21 members and Yemina dairy group which has 14 members. While Khailo group has a sales counter at Takshithang, the Yemina group has a sales counter at Yemina. Both dairy groups sell cheese and butter on a daily basis.

The Damji dairy group is a saving scheme that was established in 2014 and is still in the planning process.

In Khatoed gewog for this year the subsidy has been distributed to three dairy farmers. Many other dairy farmers in Khatoed were also given cement and CGI sheets in previous years.

Meanwhile, livestock officials said unlike other dzongkhags, in Gasa due to extreme weather conditions, the farmers were asked to complete the construction of cattle sheds five to six months after receiving the materials.

However, if the farmers fail to construct the cattle shed after availing the subsidy, they have to return the materials, officials said.

Dawa Gyelmo | Wangdue