Bhubaneswar: Manda buffalo of Odisha has received National Recognition, thanks to an innovative initiative of Senior Mandarin Bishnupada Sethi and leading Animal Geneticist Susanta Kumar Dash.
Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR)-National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) has recognized the breed, which is native to Odisha and having an isolated breeding tract and geographical distribution to hill ranges of Eastern Ghats and plateau of Koraput region.
Mostly ash grey and grey body colour is a very unique coat colour with this buffalo breed, officials say.
This buffalo germplasm was first identified and a detail survey was made by Fisheries & ARD Department of Odisha in collaboration with Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology under the leadership of Bishnupada Sethi, then the Director Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services and and Dr. Susanta Kumar Dash, an Animal Geneticist.
While Mr.Sethi is now serving as Principal Secretary Revenue and Disaster Management, Dr.Dash is Professor and Head of Department of ABG of Odisha Veterinary College of Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology(OUAT). Both have worked hard for such a recognition, officials say.
The findings of the project were put to NBAGR for recognition of the indigenous unique buffalo – Manda at national level. Now it has been declared as the 19th breed of buffalo in the country.
Manda are small sized, sturdy buffaloes, and both male & females are being used for ploughing and in agricultural operations in the native tract of Koraput, Malkangiri and Nabarangpur districts.
These buffaloes have ash grey and grey coat colour with copper colour hairs. Lower part of legs upto elbow is light colour with copper colour hair at knee. Some animals are silver white in colour.
These animals are resistant to parasitic infection and less prone to diseases and can live, produce and reproduce at low/nil input system.
There are around 1,00,000 buffaloes of this breed in the native tract mostly contributing to the family nutrition of households and all the agricultural operations in the undulated landscaping of the hilly terrain for generations.
Average milk yield of these buffaloes is 2 to 2.5 litre in single milking with more than 8% fat. However, a few of those yield upto 4 litres.
Manda buffaloes get matured at around 3 years and drop the first calf at around 4 years. Every 1.5 to 2 years they give birth to a calf for the whole life of around 20 years.
With national recognition of Manda buffalo, all efforts will be made by Government of India and Government of Odisha to conserve this unique buffalo genetic resource of Odisha and efforts will be made to enhance their productivity through breeding strategy and market the produce – milk, curd, ghee etc. at premium price resulting improvement of livelihood of the stakeholders in the native tract.
Earlier under Mr. Sethi and Dr. Dash, the duo have contributed immensely to register 4 breeds of cattle – Binjharpuri, Motu, Ghumusari and Khariar, 2 breeds of buffalo – Chilika and Kalahandi and one breed of sheep – Kendrapada and now the conservation projects are in force for all the indigenous breeds in the state. Binjharpuri cattle semen production and use through artificial insemination is a remarkable achievement in the country in the field of conservation process.