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Bihar far behind in balanced diet
- State residents consume less meat, milk & fish than national average

Patna, Aug. 27: The Bihar residents don’t eat healthy. Their protein intake is far below the national average. Reason: poor milk production and lack of emphasis on poultry and goat-farming.

As per the Indian Council of Medical Research, a person should consume 300g of milk a day. It suggests a person should consume 10.95 kg of meat and 140 eggs per year.

Forget meeting the prescribed standards of Indian Council of Medical Research, Bihar residents’ milk, egg and mutton intake is far less than the national average. Bihar’s per capita per day milk consumption is 154g against the national average of 241g. Similarly, the average annual intake of meat and eggs is just 2.58kg and 16 per year compared to the national annual average of 4.74 kg and 45, respectively.

Taking serious note of the issue, the state government is contemplating to set up mini and small dairy projects to boost milk production in the state. “The state government is all set to set up Kosi milk union in association with COMPFED to boost milk production in the area. It will also set up mini and small dairy projects to promote the milk production in the state. Farmers will get cattle at a subsidised rate with the help of banks,” S.K. Negi, the principal secretary of animal husbandry department, said today while addressing a seminar on “Strategies for enhancing milk and meat production in our state”.

Asserting that Bihar was lagging in terms of livestock compared to other states, Negi said: “We are still dependent on Hyderabad for fish. Though the state has been doing well in terms of milk production, we used to supply milk to states like Jharkhand and Bengal. Several steps have to be taken to increases the milk production.”

Considering the low production and consumption of milk and meat in the state, the government ideally should increased the milk production twice. The meat production should be increases by four times and egg production by 17 times to match the council’s recommendations.

“We need to organise awareness campaigns to promote production and consumption of fish, milk and meat. The farmers should be told that their productivity will increase by many times if they go for good breed of cattle. We need to create a demand for these products,” the principal secretary said.

The government has taken up backyard poultry farm scheme. It was running successfully in 14 districts, he said.

Admitting that the government alone cannot promote livestock farming, exhorted people from private sector to come forward in the animal husbandry-related farming. He said there was big market for meat and poultry farm products in the state.

R.K. Sohane, the director of Bihar Agriculture Management and Extension Training Institute (BAMETI), which was conducting the seminar in association with animal husbandry department, said around 200 veterinary doctors were participating in the seminar. They would be enlightened on the techniques to increase the productivity.

S.P. Singh, the head of the department of veterinary public health, GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, said farmers should go for good breed of cows to get better yield. Laying stress on organised goat-farming, Singh said the government should promote it through better financing and training taking help of BAMETI and veterinary colleges.

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