Arunachal Pradesh’s yak farmers, called Brokpas may now be able to double their income by a high quality fibre produced from blending yak fur and jute.
Brokpas in recent times are giving up their traditional occupation due to drop in Yak population.
The National Research Centre on Yak (NRCY) based in Dirang in Kameng district of the state and Kolkata-based National Institute of Research on Jute and Allied Fibre Technology (NIRJAFT) holds promise of getting high returns from selling yak fur for producing the blended fibre, which in turn is used in manufacturing winter garments.
“Earlier, the coarse furs were used by Brokpas for domestic use only. Since we tied up with NIRJAFT and started producing the blended fibres, the price per kilogram of fur has increased to Rs 500. Fine fur fetches up to Rs 1000 per kilogram. We buy the furs from the farmers for making blended fibres which are then sold in the market as value-added winter garments,” NRCY director P Chakravarty said.
Chakraborty said weavers from NRCY were trained in Kolkata for making winter garments.
“Besides scientific and technological interventions in increasing yak population, the furs have added another dimension to farmers’ income generation,” Chakraborty added.
Because of declining yak population, the NRCY and NIRJAFT organized a workshop on popularizing technologies to stop the decline in yak population and increased income of yak farmers. Centre’s department of biotechnology director AK Rawat, who attended the workshop, said NRCY should collaborate with other national institutes intensively for advanced research on yak husbandry, reports TOI.
Officials from Defence agencies also took part in the workshop because yak plays a crucial role an transporting materials for defence personnel serving in high altitudes.
The yak population in India is estimated to be 76,237, according to a livestock census in 2012, with an estimated 14,000 found at an elevations of 3,000 to 6,000 metres above sea levels in West Kameng and Tawang districts. Other states having yak population are Ladakh, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal and Uttarakhand.
In January, yaks of Arunachal Pradesh were registered by the National Bureau of Animal Genetics Resources as a distinct breed known as Arunachali yak.