Written by Dinesh Balam, RRA Network | August 1, 2020
“Malkangiri District Administration organizes a consultation to prepare DPR for designing the project to revive the Indigenous Motu Cattle of Malkangiri”
“Quantity of milk produced by indigenous cows is low, it is difficult to generate enough economic livelihood only through selling milk. Hence it is important to focus on milk based products such as curd, sweets, etc along with proper branding and storage. Current cow shed design does not have enough ventilation and is not suitable for non milch native animals used to live in open areas. A new cow shed design with adequate ventilation and proper design suitable to native animals should be developed.” – Dr Sabyasachi Das
“Department has given artificial insemination targets. This directly opposes the motu cattle conservation. Tribal farmers usually leave cattle in the jungle for nearly 8 months. They don’t milk the cow either. So it will be a challenge to promote milk based activities in the motu cattle livelihood plan.” – Block Veterinary Officer – Podia
“Motu cattle has very distinct features. As it is registered as a breed, as per the national breeding policy and state breeding policy, no artificial insemination should be carried out in the Motu cattle area. Artificial insemination should be carried out only for non-descript breeds.”
| Dr D K Sadana, Fmr Principal Scientist, ICAR-NBAGR
Malkangiri District Administration formed a “Committee on Agroecology and Agro-biodiversity” to promote native plant and animal species. One of the key responsibilities of the “Committee on Agroecology and Agro-biodiversity” of Malkangiri District is to develop a plan for the revival of “Motu Cattle”, a native breed found in Podia and Kalimela block of Malkangiri District.
In this context, an online consultation was to develop a roadmap for revival of motu cattle on 29.06.2020 under chairmanship of Mr Manish Aggarwal IAS, Collector & District Magistrate of Malkangiri District. Participants from Animal husbandry department officials, field officers, Aspirational district fellows, RRA Network, WASSAN, and others participated in the preliminary meeting.
At the outset, Mr Manish Aggarwal IAS, Collector & DM said that Motu Cattle is mostly used for draught power by Koya community. They are allowed to roam in the forests most of the year. They are also sold as meat in the nearby markets. As economical benefits of the motu cattle are declining, the population of motu cattle is also declining rapidly. In order to revive the motu cattle, focus needs to be given on creating awareness and also suitable economic model should also be developed.
Dr Sabyasachi Das, National Coordinator, RRA Network shared a video and explained NDDB’s initiative on Sunderban Milk Cooperative Union on Enhancing Livelihoods of women milk producers from indigenous cattle. He also shared his experience of developing business models of Kharai Camels (Swimming Camels of Kutch) including branding and marketing through Amul. Quantity of milk produced by indigenous cows is low, it is difficult to generate enough income through selling milk. Hence it is important to diversify into milk based products such as curd, sweets (Rasogollas, Chennapoda, etc) with proper branding and storage. If possible, multiple initiatives such as natural farming/organic farming, etc should be linked to Motu Cattle rearing. Based on the field visit, He said that current cowshed design does not have enough ventilation and is not suitable for non-milch-forest grazing native cattle species especially in areas with high temperature such as Malkangiri. A new cow shed design with adequate ventilation and proper design should be developed.
Incharge, Mobile veterinary unit said that it is important to conserve the local breed as they are resistant to many diseases. He narrated his experiences of studying ganjam goat breed and how its resistance and genetic material can be very useful in the future for managing diseases.
Block Veterinary officer from Podia said the department has given artificial insemination targets. This directly opposes the Motu cattle conservation. Tribal farmers usually leave cattle in the jungle for nearly 8 months. They don’t milk the cow either. So it will be a challenge to promote milk based activities in the Motu cattle livelihood plan.
Dr D K Sadana, Former Principal Scientist, ICAR-NBAGR said that Motu cattle has very distinct features. As it is registered as a breed, as per the national breeding policy and state breeding policy, no artificial insemination should be carried out in the Motu cattle area. Artificial insemination should be carried out only for non-descript breeds. Awareness should be carried out on massive scale on the benefits of the motu cattle. It is also important to ensure there is some support for the motu cattle from the government for rearing. It could be incentivized based on number of cows or quantity of urine collected or milk collected, etc. In addition, good quality bulls need to identified and selective breeding should be promoted. Maintenance of high quality males, females and selective breeding among Motu cattle should be supported by the District Administration. Efforts should be made to castrate or eliminate poor quality bulls.
CDVO Malkangiri said that AH Dept shall focus on creating awareness, promoting the milking of motu cows and simultaneously work on breed quality improvement. He said that as a first step block wise data needs to be collected for the motu cattle.
Following decisions were made under the chairmanship of Collector & District Magistrate:-
- A survey shall be taken up on the enumeration of Motu cattle with a focus on pure breed and different grades of purity. It will also document the views of local community on the Motu cattle in Podia, Kalimela and Malkangiri blocks. Survey format shall be shared by Dr D K Sadana, Fmr Principal Scientist, ICAR-NBAGR, GoI, RRA Livestock Node.
- A new design for Cattleshed shall be developed in consultation with AH Department and DRDA. It shall be promoted under MGNREGA.
- Data Collection on the population, seasonal milk production, shelter management, diseases including literature review of Motu Cattle shall be taken up.
- An advisory committee with representatives of Animal Husbandry Department, DRDA, RRA Network, NDDB, KMMC, WASSAN to develop the strategy, DPR and oversee the implementation of Motu Cattle Livelihood Plan.