Itanagar: The Himalayan Yak has got the food animal tag from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), under the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

The FSSAI tagging, which was earned a few days back following the proposal of the Dirang (Arunachal Pradesh) based National Research Centre on Yak (NRC-Y), is expected to prevent the decline in the population of the high-altitude bovine animal by involving it as part of the conventional milk and meat industry.

Usually, highly-nutritious Yak milk and meat are not part of the conventional dairy and meat industry, and their sale is limited to local consumers.

NRC-Y Director Mihir Sarkar said that the proposal for FSSAI tagging was submitted to the Central authority last year.

“We made a detailed presentation about the benefits of Yak milk and meat and the importance of rearing the animal before the Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Ministry.

“The FSSAI issued the tagging after a recommendation from the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying,” Sarkar said.

Domesticated Yak is found throughout the Himalayan region — Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, North Bengal, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir — while wild Yak is found in Tibet.

Sarkar said that Yak plays a multidimensional socio-economic and cultural role for the pastoral nomads who rear it largely for maintaining their nutritional support and livelihood.

According to the NRC-Y, the Yak population in the country has been declining at an alarming rate.

According to the 2019 Census, India had some 58,000 Yaks, marking a drop of about 25 per cent from the last livestock Census conducted in 2012.

Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir have the largest population of around 26,000 Yaks, followed by around 24,000 in Arunachal Pradesh, mostly in Tawang and West Kameng districts, 5,000 in Sikkim, 2,000 in Himachal Pradesh and around 1,000 in North Bengal and Uttarakhand.

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