Sunday, January 19, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Farmers take to horse-breeding
Mini-stud farms dot Malwa region
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, January 18
A trend, which is catching up fast in the Malwa region of Punjab, particularly in this district, is that farmers have taken to horse-breeding in a big way to supplement their income after finding it difficult to make both ends meet by earning enough from their farms.

As the horse and mare being bred by the farmers of this region, is finding buyers from Delhi, Mumbai, UP and Rajasthan, more and more farmers are joining this venture by developing horse breeding as a cottage industry in their dwellings and farms.

During a random survey, it was noticed that in almost all the villages, a considerable number of farmers had taken to this profession in the past four to five years to generate the much-needed cash. These farmers had developed mini-stud farms in their dwellings and farms.

For these farmers, the “ghora Mandi” (horse trading bazaar) organised here on the occasion of Maghi Mela and Dasehra, has become an income source for their mini-stud farms. The bazaar is held here on the occasion of Magh Mela since time immemorial. As the demand for horses and mare being bred by farmers of this belt increased among the buyers from other states, the traders started organising bazaar on the occasion of Dasehra also.

Said Mr Harpal Singh Brar Lakhewali, a farmer and horse-breeder “I used to earn about Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3 lakh in a year from the sale of horses and mare at these bazaars. I have been breeding horses and mare in my dwelling. The diet being given to the horses and mare is being arranged by me from my farm. So I have been incurring little expenditure on the upbringing of horses and mare”.

Most of the farmers, to whom TNS talked to in the bazaar pointed out that if the state government started paying some attention towards the breeding of horses and mare it could be a strong base for diversification in the agriculture and allied activities.

Mr Nahar Singh Brar of Khunan Kalan village pointed out that at present the farmers had been breeding the desi variety known as Nookra of horses and mare. He added that even hybrid variety of horses and mare could be bred in this region if the government provided the requisite support. He added that hybrid variety was a major foreign exchange earner.

During a round of the bazaar, it was found that a spotless white horse fetched between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 4 lakh from buyers belonging to UP while the spotless white mare fetched Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3 lakh.

Mr Jagdeep Singh of Bhamba village pointed out that horses and mare were in great demand as they were considered “good” for occasions like marriage and other social ceremonies. He added that horses and mare purchased from this bazaar by the traders were being used in various Bollywood movies.

Mr Salim, a purchaser from Rae Bareli in UP, said after purchasing horses and mare from this bazaar, he would sell off the same to big businessmen and landlords, who kept them as a hobby and enjoyed horse-riding. He added that he had been earning thousands of rupees in this job.


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