Military farms closed after 132 years of service

Context

What are Military Farms?

  • The farms were set up with the sole requirement of supplying hygienic cow milk to troops in garrisons across British India.
  • The first military farm was raised on February 1, 1889, at Allahabad. Military Farms
  • Post-independence, the farms flourished with 30,000 heads of cattle in 130 farms all over India.
  • They were even established in Leh and Kargil in the late 1990s.

Reason for Closure

  • The major task was the management of large tracts of defence land, production and supply of baled hay to animal holding units.
  • There have been several recommendations in the past to shut down the farms.
  • In 2012, the Quarter Master General branch had recommended their closure.
  • Again in December 2016 by Lt. Gen. DB Shekatkar (retd) committee was appointed to recommend measures to enhance combat capability and rebalance defence expenditure of the armed forces.

Significance

  • For more than a century, the farms with dedication and commitment supplied 3.5 crore litres of milk and 25,000 MT of hay yearly.
  • It is credited with pioneering the technique of artificial insemination of cattle and the introduction of organised dairying in India, providing yeoman service during the 1971 war.
  • It also supplied milk at the Western and Eastern war fronts as well as during the Kargil operations to the Northern Command.

Project Freiswal

  • It utilizes Friesian-Sahiwal cross-breeds as a base for the evolution of a new milch strain – “Frieswal” – through interbreeding, selection and progeny testing of bulls.
  • It was introduced on 3 November 1987 at the Military Farm School and Research Centre in Meerut.
  • It had the objective of studying the genetic aspects of Holstein x Sahiwal crossbreeds and those of important indigenous cattle breeds for their improvement through selection.

Source: The Hindu


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