RAC 2017


“Awareness Workshop on Semi-Intensive Mithun Farming: Prospects and possibilities of mithun rearing in hilly districts of West Bengal”

15th November 2019, Kalimpong, West Bengal
On 15th November 2019, a one-day Awareness Workshop on Semi-Intensive Mithun Farming was held at Kalimpong District of West Bengal. The workshop was jointly organized by ICAR-National Research Centre on Mithun, Nagaland and West Bengal Comprehensive Area Development Corporation (WBCADC), Govt. of West Bengal. The workshop was part of the Institute's continued effort to propagate mithun rearing as a source of livelihood generation under Schedule-Tribe Component (STC).

The day-long workshop began with a welcome address of Dr. Swarup Chatterjee, In-charge Animal Husbandry, WBCADC, Kolkatta. Dr. Chatterjee briefed the audience about the activities of CADC and explained the objectives of the workshop.

Dr. Abhijit Mitra, Director, ICAR-NRC on Mithun made a brief presentation highlighting the importance of mithun as a means of livelihood and the prospects and possibilities of mithun rearing in hilly districts of West Bengal. There is a distinct similarity in the geographical terrain, climate as well as the bio-diversity of Hilly states of West Bengal including Kalimpong with the North Eastern States where mithun is being reared since ages. This similarity serves as a readily available bowl of feed and fodder for mithun which is though completely domesticated but reared traditionally under free-range forest ecosystem. Adopting the semi-intensive mithun rearing model, developed by ICAR-NRCM, the full potential of mithun could be explored for meat, milk, leather, and draught. Dr. Mitra further informed that there is an increase in mithun population by over 30% in the 20th Livestock census, 2019.

Mithun (Bos frontalis), enjoys a special socio-cultural status among the tribal population of the North East region. It is genetically distinct from other bovine species but considered as a close relative of its wild ancestor, Gaur (Bos gaurus). This magnificent and unique bovine species has a limited geographical distribution in North-Eastern Hilly States of India, hill districts of Bangladesh, northern Burma and in Yunnan province of China.

Since time immemorial, mithun is traditionally reared as a meat animal under free-range forest ecosystem. Being the “Nature’s Gardener”, Mithun farming in its natural habitat helps in conserving and rejuvenating the forest. Besides, it also has the potential for the production of milk, hides, and draught power. Mithun farming, under semi-intensive rearing, can serve as an additional means of livelihood.

The inaugural session was graced by Shri Suya Prasad Yadav, IPS, Superintendent of Police, Kalimpong; Shri. Abdur Rakib, WBCS (Exe), Deputy Magistrate and Swami Nityasatyananda, Secretary, Ramkrishna Mission, Darjeeling, and Dr. Samuel Rai, Director, Sicncona Project, Mongpu. The dignitaries lauded the efforts of the ICAR-NRCM and WBCADC for their noble attempt to improve the livelihood of the farmers of the hilly districts through the introduction of mithun.

ICAR-NRC on Mithun also put up anexhibition stall displaying the information on what mithun is, what it usually feeds on and the various milk, meat and hide products that can be developed from mithun. An interactive technical session between experts from ICAR-NRC on MIthun and the participating farmers was also conducted to quell out all queries about mithun. A short film on semi-intensive system at the Institute farm was shown.

The workshop was attended by 105 participants including officials from Kalimpong Animal Resources Development, KVKs, District administrations and farmers from in and around Kalimpong district. Dr. Nazrul Haque and Dr. M. H. Khan, Principal Scientist and Kamni Paia Biam, Scientist from ICAR-NRC on Mithun, Nagaland along with Dr. Ashok Pradhan, In-charge, WBCADC, Kalimpong jointly coordinated the workshop.