GUWAHATI, Aug 18 - “The issue of climate change is yet to be tackled by the veterinarian community. If we have to sustain our livestock industry in the coming days, we need to produce heat-tolerant or climate-neutral animals locally.”
This was observed by Dr Kamal Malla Bujarbaruah, former vice chancellor of Assam Agricultural University, while delivering a speech on “Challenges before veterinary profession and the future of veterinary education in North East” at the College of Veterinary Sciences on the occasion of its 72nd foundation day on Sunday.
“The climate change issue has not been addressed by animal scientists at all. But crop scientists are doing something on it. Already, some of them have developed heat-tolerant crop varieties. There is a need to develop a housing plan to protect our livestock from the effects of climate change, along with varieties of heat-tolerant animals. Unless the sector does so, it will suffer a lot in the coming days,” he said.
Discussing the challenges and prospects of the veterinary sector, Dr Bujarbaruah said that the types of challenges before a veterinarian were different from region to region. In case of Assam, the greatest challenge was to meet the deficiency of poultry and livestock production.
He said that the issue of deficiency of milk will be solved to a great extent if the production capacity of every milk producing cow in the state is developed further by one litre.
According to him, dry fodder availability was sufficient in Assam. But there is a huge shortage of green fodder for animals. To address the issue, he advised that Assam needs to take help through various schemes formulated by the Union government. Development of bio-engineered animal food would also be a fruitful solution to the issue, he said.
The agri-scientist also pointed out that for Assam, production of vaccines for foot-and-mouth disease of animals would be a profit-making business, as it was time to develop the veterinary sector as a viable business option.
Citing another drawback of the poultry sector, he stated that a sum of around Rs 8,000 crore was drained out of the state every year through egg import. Assam needs 46 lakh eggs every day, and in Guwahati, the demand of eggs in a day was 46 lakh. However, compared to the demand, egg production in the state was very low.
Commenting on the veterinary education system, he said that it was time to change the teacher-centric system into a learner-centric system. For the development of the agri sector, the state needs a market-centric education system that could produce industry and farmer-ready students.