Skip to main content

Gujarat's 70% high breed Kankrej cow "destroyed". Reason? Forest dept promoted a poisonous wild weed

Ramzanbhai: In black bandi
By Our Representative
Kankrej, one of the best cow breeds in the world originating in Kutch, Gujarat, has suffered a major decline by about 70% because of the environmental destruction caused by the state forest department's "faulty" policy to promote a wild weed called gando baval. Once sown, the wild weed spreads like wild fire, devouring all types of vegetation, one reason it is called gando or mad baval (tree) in Gujarat.
Talking to media ahead of the inauguration of a pastoralists' exhibition in Ahmedabad, Kutch pastoralists gathered there to promote their way of life and products, ranging from hand woven clothes to camel cheese, told news persons that gando baval "ate away" huge portions of one of Asia's best grasslands, Banni in Kutch, leading to "untimely death of more thanm70% of the Kankrej cows."
"There were more than one lakh Kankrej cows in the Banni area, which has 19 village panchayats, two decades ago. Currently, their numbers are down to about 30,000, and the main reason for this is that the cows began eating the little indigestible pods of gando baval in the absence of grass at several places. They just couldn't digest them and would die", said Ramzanbhai Isa Halenputra, a cow breeder for several decades.
"The result is", he said, "There are more buffaloes than cows in the area. The wild weed does not impact buffaloes, one reason why we have shifted to breeding them instead of the Kanjrej cow. The Banni buffaloes eat very little, and produce lots of milk, one reason why Kutchi pastoralists are depending on them for their livelihood." Currently, Brazil is said to be the saviour the highly valued cow breed, giving up to 50 litres of milk.
The "faulty" state forest department policy of promoting gando baval in Banni, introduced into the local ecosystem by the erstwhile rulers of Kutch and Saurashtra five decades ago, was partially rejected in 2005, when the state government reached the conclusion that it was not only attacking grasslands but also forest areas.
Imported from Mexico to arrest the advance of the desert and protect coastal crops from harmful saline winds, the state forest department found gando baval the easiest way to show that greenery was flourishing under its guidance and control.
To quote an expert observation, "Prosopis juliflora, which is the wild weed's generic name, turned out to be an environmental monster, growing at lightning speed, enveloping the farmlands and rendering them infertile. It deprived cattle of their sustenance, devastating the local economy. The groundwater table in Banni dropped, given that the gando baval guzzles enormous quantities of water as it spreads over dry terrain."
To fight gando baval, the state government legalised the business of making charcoal from wild babool. This charcoal is of high quality, and is much in demand as fuel by local industrial units. "The decision not only changed the economy of the region; it also positively impacted the Banni grassland", the expert observation said. Ramzanbhai agrees, "The spread of the gando baval has stopped as a result, but has not helped recover the lost ground."
Organized by the Centre for Pastoralism, the four-day exhibition, titled Living Lightly, has brought together pastoralists from different parts of the country to speak about their efforts, experiences, feats, and failures. It has seen the camel breeders enter into an agreement with Amul to distribute the highly nutritious camel milk for Rs 55 per litre.
To promote camel milk, which is known to fight diabetes, the Gujarat government, it was announced, has given Rs 2.75
crore to the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation to setup a separate chilling plant for camel milk to give a great fillip to the camel breeders who on an average will earn 2.5-3 lakhs every year by selling their milk.

Comments

TRENDING

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

#StandWithStan: It's about Constitution, democracy and freedom of expression

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  It is more than three weeks now: On the night of October 8, 2020, the 83-year-old Jesuit Fr Stan Swamy was taken into custody by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) from his residence in Ranchi to an undisclosed destination. According to his colleagues, the NIA did not serve a warrant on Fr. Stan and that their behaviour was absolutely arrogant and rude.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

Government of India 'refuses' to admit: 52% of bird species show declining trend

Finn's Weaver  By Our Representative The Government of India has been pushing out “misleading” data on the country’s drastic wildlife decline, says a well-researched report, pointing towards how top ministers are hiding data on biodiversity losses, even as obfuscating its own data. It quotes “State of India’s Birds Report 2020” to note that of the 261 out of 867 bird species for which long-term trends could be determined, 52% have declined since the year 2000, with 22% declining strongly.

Dalit, Adivasi protest in Jharkhand against 'illegal' transfer of land for development

By Rishit Neogi Displacement and eviction are not new terms. It is surprising that they are still continuing and have become a tool in the hands of state backed corporates to forcibly occupy lands in the name of development.