The Punjab Livestock Development Board (PLDB) has started a project to preserve the “Nili Ravi” buffalo in the state. The step has been taken to preserve indigenous breeds of buffaloes, which are on the verge of extinction, in their native tract, besides increasing their milk production.
Nili Ravi is found in the border belt of Ravi river having its concentration in Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Ferozepur. Twenty seven per cent of the total population of Nili Ravi is in Punjab. The World Bank aided project is part of the national project, which is being carried out under National Dairy Plan. The PLDB is executing the project through the Animal Husbandry Department in Punjab.
Dr Pawan Malhotra, project coordinator and deputy director, Animal Husbandry Department, here said till now around 2,000 artificial inseminations had been completed in the past four months under the project. The department was targeting to perform around 9,000 inseminations during this year. It had been holding awareness camps in the border belt to encourage more dairy farmers to raise the Nili Ravi breed, he added.
He said in the absence of systematically selected bulls, artificial insemination and lack of awareness among farmers, the genetic quality of the buffalo had degraded with the passage of time. This had also resulted in the low productivity of the animal, he added. Dr Malhotra said, “Thus the major aim of the project is to improve the genetic potential to increase the production on scientific lines. The first step is to produce high genetic merit (HGM) bulls crucial for increasing genetic potential of animals and this is being done through pedigree selection programme. Through HGM bulls we are planning to produce HGM buffaloes and then conserving it in the native tract.”

Nili Ravi breed
Nili Ravi breed

“The department has designated 50 veterinary institutions each of which is attached with at least three villages. The department has the target to produce only 19 HGM Nili Ravi bulls to have their semen for artificial insemination for steady improvement in the milk production,” informed Dr Tejbir Randhawa, area coordinator of the project.
He said for effective implementation of the programme selected animals of the breed would be tagged with a unique identity number. Each animal would be artificially inseminated by using good quality semen available followed by pregnancy diagnosis. Every female and male calve would be tagged further. The DNA finger printing would also be done for parentage verification for getting superior quality male calves, which would be procured for the semen production, he added. He said milk recording of the buffaloes would also be carried out for registering higher milk production. The dairy farmers would be given an incentive at the completion of the milk recording, he added.