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Uttarakhand to produce Australian merino sheep wool

Published: June 2, 2020

The north Indian state of Uttarakhand would now spin out the high-quality Australian sheep wool in the hills and cater to the country’s textile industry. A test report of the sheep wool quality, compiled by the state animal husbandry department, corroborated that the wool’s quality is similar to what the famed Merino sheep gives 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,” secretary, animal husbandry department of Uttarakhand, R Meenakshi Sundaram, said.

The average fibre 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 ₹8.5 crore, were imported and are housed at a farm in the Tehri Garhwal district for breeding and improving the quality of wool. “How important the development is can be understood from the fact that Indian textile industry imports 8,000 metric tons – valued over ₹2,000 crore – of fine wool from global markets including Australia,” an official statement said.

“With a very focused breeding programme for the next seven years in Uttarakhand by linking it with the integrated livelihood projects, we can produce almost 50 per cent of the total requirement of the textile industry in India,” said Sundaram.

At the sheep farm, a high-quality germplasm has been made to available sheep breeders through use of modern artificial insemination in sheep and embryo transfer technology. The Uttarakhand 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.

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