Mehsanvi buffaloes to help AP farmers

They are the black beauties of north Gujarat showing off their stout, well-groomed bodies to the buyers from down south. The Mehsanvi buffalo, which has been the mainstay of dairies of this region, is now being looked upon to resuscitate the crisis-ridden farmers of Andhra Pradesh (AP) among whom many have committed suicide. Under the schemes floated by the Centre and the AP government for these farmers, several government veterinary doctors accompanied by farmers, have come to this village to buy the Mehsanvi buffalo. Each of these buffaloes yield 12 litres of milk in a day. In the last two months alone, an estimated 1,500 Mehsanvi buffaloes have been sent to various villages in AP. There are two schemes for farmers in AP: one is the state government scheme for those families which are below the poverty line, the other is the prime minister's package for the families of farmers who committed suicide. "Under the PM's package, each affected family will be given two buffaloes. As part of this scheme, I am here with farmers to buy Mehsanvi buffaloes,'' says Dr I Balasundaram, a veterinary surgeon from Medak district of AP, adding that they also intend to develop a strong dairy industry. "This is the best business for rural folk because losses are minimised and over the years, it only grows,' says Balasundaram. Under these schemes, farmers are given buffaloes at 50 per cent subsidy and the rest on loan. Each buffalo costs Rs 30,000. Says Arvind Chaudhary, who mediates these deals and is also providing buffaloes to states other than AP, "On an average, a buffalo gives six litres of milk in the morning as well as in the evening.' Chairman of the Dudhsagar Dairy (Mehsana) Vipul Chaudhary says, "The best quality Mehsanvi buffalo is the one that gives a sustained income to the family and it does not demand much maintenance, which makes it popular.' Maleka Sankar Rao, farmer from Adilabad district, AP, feels that the state needs a strong dairy industry like Gujarat which can bail it out in the event of an agrarian crisis. Mehsanvi buffaloes find their way to crisis-ridden farmers in Andhra Pradesh.