AGRICULTURE AND IRRIGATION

LIVE-STOCK

Since long, agriculture in the district is dependent on the draught animals which mainly consist of plough bullocks and he-buffaloes. There is no special breed of cattle in the district.

The introduction of special breeds like gaolao is a recent development started during the last fifteen years. In the first quarter of the twentieth century the cattle-wealth of the district was far from satisfactory. During that period the breed of cattle found in the district was small and poor. In the forests where plenty of grazing facilities were available breeding for sale in the neighbouring districts was carried on extensively. However, there was no selection and immature bulls were allowed to stay with the herds. The castration which was usually effected very late by Mangs and Gonds, was carried out with cruel methods such as by pounding with a stone. The fee generally charged by the Gonds and Mangs was an anna or two or a free meal. In 1902, an annual grant of Rs. 300 was sanctioned by the Government to be disbursed in prizes to cattle-breeders at the Mahakali fair which is still held annually at Chanda. The intention was to encourage the people to adopt more systematic selection and early castration. But all such efforts then met with little success. Subsequently the grant was also withdrawn.

The plough cattle of the district were then broadly classified into two groups viz., (1) the mahurpatti group and (2) the Telangpatti group. The former were good-sized and strongly built and were suitable for work in the open fields of the jowar growing country. They were found in great numbers in Warora tahsil. A pair of good plough bullocks of this breed used to cost from Rs. 100 to Rs. 200 and a good cow from Rs. 40 to Rs. 50. The Telangpatti breed, on the other hand, was of much smaller build and was usually reserved for rice cultivation. The cost of a pair of good bullocks of this breed ranged from Rs. 60 to Rs. 125, while the cost of a cow varied between Rs. 10 and Rs. 30. The life of an ordinary pair of plough bullocks was about 10 to 12 years in the open-field country, but in the rice fields the usual duration of life was only about five years.

The grazing facilities in the areas covered by forests were satisfactory. "Plough cattle", writes Mr. Hemingway "are as a rule well fed and tended; in the rice tracts there is excellent grazing, and cattle are well fed the whole year round; in the open tracts also with one exception, there seems no lack of good fodder; all the period that the cattle are working they are fed with bhusa and the husks from the threshing-floor. During the hot weather, the cattle are kept out in the fields at the mandwas that tenants construct on their holdings and where they themselves live during the hot weather. The karbi of juari is an invaluable cattle food in these tracts; and the surplus that tenants do not require for their own cattle finds a ready sale in the local bazar. The one- exception above referred to is the open tract at the bend of the Wainganga north of Bramhapuri, where the cropping is very close indeed; there is practically no waste land in the village, and cattle appear to be muzzled when loose until the month of April, when there is little for them to find in the fields. In this tract, tenants are content with the very thinnest and oldest cattle that they can procure; they seem perfectly happy if they get a full season's work out of their pair, before the latter expire, and new cattle of equally little value take their place. "

In Warora and Brahmapuri well-to-do malguzars and tenants used to feed salt to their cattle five times a year; the amount given was one or one and a half chittacks at a time to plough cattle, and half a chittack to other cattle. The practice of feeding salt to cattle was more or less common in the district.

Cows were kept for the sake of milk, ghee and also for manure. In the eastern half of the district, almost every village had large herds of cows and other cattle. They were also kept for breeding purposes. In the zamindari and wild tracts, the Sao Teli and Gonds were in the habit of ploughing the fields with cows.

In the interior parts buffaloes were freely used in cultivation. Generally they were used in rice cultivation to drag the khirli or sledge and the phan or harrow. In the Wainganga valley, the zamindaris and the villages around the Chandrapur town buffaloes were extensively kept for the sake of ghee. Many of the buffaloes were brought from Wardha. In Sironcha tahsil a fine breed of buffaloes was produced and exported to Nellore in Madras. The price of a male buffalo varied between Rs. 15 and Rs. 16 and that of a she-buffalo Rs. 30 and Rs. 50.

Horses and ponies were very few in number and poor in quality. The malguzars and other persons of note used to travel in rengis drawn by bullocks.

Large flocks of goats and sheep were reared in the district. The sheep were generally kept by Dhangars and Kuramwars for the sake of wool, while goats were designed chiefly for food. Both goats and sheep were then valued for the sake of their manure. The price of a goat was Rs. 4 or Rs. 5 and of sheep Rs. 2. In Sironcha there was a special breed of sheep known as dhor mundi or the Godavari sheep.

In 1906-07 the most important cattle markets of the district were held at Warora, Madheri, Chimur Jambulghata, Bhandak, Nawargaon, Gangalwadi, Chandrapur, Rajgarh, Dabha, Kung-hada-Talodhi and Nandgaon. The cattle were brought from the big Wun fair to the annual Mahakali fair at Chandrapur. In Sironcha tahsil also some cattle were brought to the weekly bazar at Asaralli.

The total number of agricultural stock during 1906-07 was returned as shown below:

Bulls and bullocks

204,712

Cows

261,936

He-buffaloes

22,654

She-buffaloes

77,692

Young-stock

172,534

Sheep

43,111

Goats

96,220

Horses and ponies

988

Mules

1

Donkeys

169

Among the cattle diseases sad and tadak phansi (anthrax) pai khuri and tondi khuri (foot-and-mouth disease), mata (rinderpest) and dukria or ghatsarap (haemorrhagic septicaemia) affected the cattle most and very often caused heavy losses.

After Independence and especially after the introduction of the community development programme the live-stock in the district is being improved, as a result of the spread of animal husbandry activities. In the district today there are 14 full-fledged veterinary dispensaries. In addition, there are 38 veterinary aid centres. The veterinary officers, extension officers for animal husbandry and the stockmen carry out the work of treating animals, of castrating of scrub bulls and of preventive vaccinations against contagious diseases. Besides, they execute various schemes and disseminate technical information regarding the animal husbandry.

Cattle breeding centres.

Among the various schemes for the development of live-stock, maintenance of breeding farm is an important one. A cattle breeding farm is established at Chandrapur where animals of gaolao breed are maintained. Besides this there are four supplementary cattle breeding centres in the district located at Aheri, Brahmapuri, Gondipipri and Shindewahi. In the first two centres, established in 1957-58, 10 bulls and 53 cows of gaolao breed are kept, whereas in the last two, started in 1964-65, 6 bulls and 55 cows are maintained.

Gosadan.

In order to protect the old cattle, a gosadan is opened at Somnath near Mul and about 900 acres of forest land is attached to it for grazing and cultivation of grass.

Artificial Insemination.

There is one full-fledged artificial insemination centre at Chandrapur with three sub-centres at Bhadrawati, Mul, and Gadhchiroli. At these centres 647 inseminations were carried out and 143 calves were reared.

Live-stock Markets and Live-stock prices.

There are at present twenty cattle markets, out of which nearly sixteen are regular weekly markets. The prices at these markets vary from Rs. 500 to Rs. 1,000 for a gaolao bull, Rs. 200 to Rs. 500 for a gaolao milch cow, and from Rs. 400 to Rs. 800 for a berari milch she-buffalo. The non-descript bullocks fetch on an average a price from Rs. 200 to Rs. 400.

A tahsilwise live-stock population as per 1961 Census is given in the following table:

TABLE No. 25

 NUMBER OF LIVE-STOCK AS ENUMERATED IN 1961 CENSUS IN CHANDRAPUR DISTRICT

Tahsil

Cattle

Total cattle

Males over 3 years

Females over 3 years

Young stock

Used for Breeding only

Total males

Breeding cows

Total females over 3 years

In Milk

Total Breeding cows

(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

(5)

(6)

(7)

(8)

Brahmapuri

226

66,738

9,796

32,238

32,736

32,672

1,32,146

Warora

571

80,173

18,980

51,275

51,661

51,361

1,83,195

Gadhchiroli

619

98,775

20,021

64,879

68,584

72,147

2,39,506

Chandrapur

773

77,432

15,407

41,671

42,288

40,547

1,60,267

Rajura

23

35,340

5,499

24,813

24,826

16,599

76,765

Sironcha

607

40,766

9,436

38,192

41,680

43,082

1,25,528

Total

2,819

3,99,224

79,139

2,53,068

2,61,775

2,56,408

9,17,407

TABLE No. 25-contd.

Tahsil

Buffaloes

Total buffaloes

Males over 3 years

Females over 3 years

Young stock

Used for breeding only

Total males

Breeding buffaloes

Total females over 3 years

In Milk

Total Breeding Buffaloes

(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

(5)

(6)

(7)

(8)

Brahmapuri

72

3,528

2,692

5,421

5,520

5,735

14,783

Warora

186

696

3,003

8,078

8,252

7,816

16,764

Gadhchirol

84

23,111

2,456

6,036

6,205

6,769

36,085

Chandrapur

200

7,341

4,768

10,463

10,628

10,467

28,436

Rajura

79

188

1,657

5,926

5,947

3,814

9,949

Sironcha

84

10,566

933

3,220

3,347

3,288

17,201

Total

705

45,430

15,509

39,144

39,899

37,889

1,23,218

TABLE No. 25-contd.

Tahsil

Sheep

Goats

Horses and Ponies

Total Live-stock

Total Poultry

(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

(5)

(6)

Brahmapuri

7,681

26,316

53

1,81,419

1,05,307

Warora

4,939

40,360

260

2,46,227

1,41,858

Gadhchiroli

8,714

64,635

66

3,54,222

2,66,719

Chandrapur

11,054

30,540

36

2,31,427

1,68,597

Rajura

1,951

18,933

51

1,07,787

50,648

Sironcha

3,527

34,529

19

1,86,930

85,415

Total

37,866

2,15,313

485

13,08,012

8,18,544

Poultry.

Poultry farming, which provides a subsidiary occupation to the cultivators and others is carried on on a small scale in the district. Most of the poultry birds kept in the district are of deshi and non-descript variety. However, the zilla parishad, the panchayat samitis and the animal husbandry department have taken a joint move to upgrade deshi hens by supplying improved pure-breeds like White Leghorn and Rhode Island Red at concessional rates and also by giving financial assistance in the form of loans and subsidies. There is neither a poultry experimental farm nor a poultry research station in the district. However demonstration and propaganda work is carried on through exhibitions and kisan melas. In 1964-65 three such exhibitions were organised. Besides, there are three poultry centres located at Chandrapur, Mul and Bhadrawati, respectively. The total annual income from these centres in 1964-65 amounted to Rs. 606. Training in poultry keeping is imparted to the cultivators. In 1964-65 loans to the tune of Rs. 5,223 and the poultry subsidy amounting to Rs. 3,094 were disbursed to the poultry breeders.

Besides the three poultry centres, the intensive poultry development scheme and the crash programme schemes were undertaken in six and three panchayat samitis respectively. Similarly in 1964-65, 4,444 birds were distributed to the cultivators at concessional rates. 982 hatching eggs were also supplied. Fifteen persons in the district own poultry farms with more than fifty pure-bred birds. Prophylactic vaccinations against Raniket and Fowl Pox diseases are carried out by the veterinary officers and stockmen.

Dairy conditions.

The cattle in the district constitutes about 48.14 per cent of the total live-stock while the buffaloes form only 5.7 per cent. Thus the buffalo population, which is the main source of milk, forms but a small portion of the total live-stock population. The tahsilwise distribution of cows and female buffaloes is given in the following table.

TABLE No. 26.

TAHSILWISE DISTRIBUTION OF COWS AND SHE-BUFFALOES IN CHANDRAPUR DISTRICT, 1961

Tahsil (1)

Cows over three years

Female buffaloes over three years

In milk (2)

Dry (3)

Young stock (4)

In milk (5)

Dry (6)

Young stock (7)

Chandrapur

15,407

21,108

40,547

4,768

4,042

10,467

Warora

18,980

25,557

51,361

3,003

3,429

7,816

Brahmapuri

9,796

18,456

32,672

2,692

1,870

5,735

Gadhchiroli

20,021

37,149

72,147

2,456

2,675

6,769

Sironcha

9,436

21,642

43,082

933

1,848

3,288

Rajura

5,499

13,769

16,599

1,657

2,889

3,814

Total

79,139

137,681

256,408

15,509

16,753

37,889

The above table shows that about 60 per cent of the cattle are reared in tribal tahsils of Gadhchiroli, Sironcha, Rajura and Brahmapuri while only 40 per cent of cattle are found in Chandrapur and Warora tahsils. Similary the table also shows that the  ratio of milch to dry animals is nearly 1:2 while that of buffaloes it is 1:1.

There is no special breed of cattle in the district. The cows are nondescript, dwarf with average daily milk yield of two litres Buffaloes belong to typical Nagpur breed characterised by its long tapering horns. These animals are very hardy. The average milk yield of these animals comes to about four litres a day. In most of the cases, cows are not milked. Farmers in Chandrapur and Warora tahsils utilize a portion of cow milk for their own consumption. In tribal areas on the other hand the practice of allowing the calves to suck their mothers is common. The tribals do not milk their cows. Even though the cattle wealth is immense in the tribal areas, no adequate use is made of milch cattle by the tribals.

The activities of milk collection from the villages are restricted to areas nearabout Chandrapur, the district place and Ballarshah an industrial town in the district. Most of the villages which supply milk to Chandrapur town are situated within a radius of five miles. Vadgaon, Padoli, Lohara, Morva, Nandgaon, Datala  are among a few villages which supply milk to Chandrapur. In the villages located on the bank of Wardha river and situated far away from Chandrapur town the villagers convert milk into butter and ghee and market these products in Chandrapur town on bazar days. In general there is scarcity of milk and the villages indicated above are not able to meet the requirement of Chandrapur town. The price of milk varies from 87 paise to Rs. 1.25 paise per paili (one paili= 1.25 kg. approx.) while that of butter and ghee varies from Rs. 6 to 7 per kg. and from Rs. 10 to 12 per kg. respectively.

The villages Visapur, Bamni, Dahari, Lavani supply milk to Ballarshah town. In these villages particularly there are ample facilities for grazing. Dry fodder is also available in ample quantity. Feeding cattle on cotton-seed and cotton-seed cakes is common. This has definitely improved the milk yield. Mainly milk of buffaloes is sold in Ballarshah town and the price varies from 80 paise to Rs. 1.25 per paili. Daily 400 to 600 litres of milk is sold in Ballarshah town even in summer; the sales go well over 1,000 to 1,200 litres, in winter. Due to the heavy demand for milk, milk products are not prepared by the village people staying nearby. In case of the villages of Palasgaon, Rajura, Karmana, Ambaoli, Kotti, Tinni, which are located far away from the town usually the villagers convert milk into ghee and sell it in the town at the rate varying from Rs. 8 to 10 per kg. The existing conditions indicate an ample scope for the development of dairy industry in the vicinity of Ballarshah town.

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