Sandeep Khanal in his goat farm. Photo: Mohammad Habib/Republica
BHAIRAHAWA, May 29: Local farmers have breathed a sigh of relief after the government tightened imports of livestock like goats and sheep from India.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development took the decision in a bid to find market for local productions, ensure supply of healthy and hygienic meat products to consumers and make the country self-reliant in meat products.
"Goat import through Bhairahawa, Krishnanagar and Maheshpur customs points is nil since March 10,” Gandhi Upadhyaya, Chief of Animal Quarantine Office in Bhairahawa, told Republica.
According to Upadhyaya, 369,657 goats worth about Rs 4 billion were imported from India in FY2017/18. The country had imported 193,693 goats from the three customs points before import restrictions kicked in.
Until March 9, traders could import goats from India by showing quarantine certificate, vaccination record and purchase bill. However, traders must produce International Quarantine Certificate for goat imports. Though the provision was enshrined in Livestock Services Regulation and Livestock Services Act, the government brought it into implementation from March 9.
It takes lot of time for Indian farmers to acquire international quarantine certificate which is issued only in New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore. It is because of this new rule that import of goats has come to a grinding halt.
However, prices of live goats and mutton have increased in the local market as local farmers struggle to meet demand in the market. Price of live goats has increased to Rs 500 per kg from Rs 450 after the new provision came into implementation.
Sandeep Khanal, an engineer-turned-livestock farmer, welcomed the government decision. "Earlier, we could not compete in the market because of cheaper Indian imports. Now, we are getting good price for our products," Khanal said, adding: "Now, we can expand our production as market is not a problem for us any longer."