Uttarakhand to produce Australian merino sheep wool

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NNew Delhi, June 2 (IANSlife) The mountainous state of Uttarakhand would now spin out high-quality Australian sheep wool in the hills and cater to Indias textile industry that relies majorly on the global market for sourcing sheep wool.

A recent test report of the sheep wool quality compiled by the state’s animal husbandry department corroborated that the wool’s quality is similar to what is sourced from the famed Merino sheep in Australia.

‘We had imported the Australian Merino sheep last year and the purebred yielded the same quality and this month the quantity of wool in Uttarakhand as in Australia,’ Dr R Meenakshi Sundaram, Secretary, Animal Husbandry Department, said.

The average fiber diameter is a very impressive 16.88 microns which is the most sought after by the textile industry across the world, Sundaram added.

Under the national livestock scheme last year, over 250 Merino sheep valued Rs 8.5 crore, are housed at a farm in the Tehri Garhwal district for breeding and improving the quality of wool.

The importance of the development can be implied from the data that the Indian textile industry imports 8000 MT – valued over Rs 2,000 crore – of fine wool from the global market, including Australia.

‘With very focused breeding programs for the next seven years in Uttarakhand by linking it with the integrated livelihood projects, we can produce almost 50 % of the total requirement of the textile industry in India,’ said Sundaram.

At the sheep farm, high-quality germplasm has been made to available sheep breeders through the use of modern artificial insemination in sheep and embryo transfer technology. The state government is aiming to offer sheep farming as a sustainable livelihood opportunity to the migrant population which has returned to Uttarakhand due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

–IANS

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