The Himachal Pradesh government is determined to boost Pashmina wool production in the state.
The hill state records about 1000 kilogram Pashmina wool production annually at present and aims to double it in next five years, according to Animal Husbandry Minister, Virender Kanwar.
He said the state government will distribute around 638 goats of Chanthangi and Chegu breeds to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families in Pashmina producing snow bound areas of the state under centrally sponsored National Livestock Mission.
The minister said under the mission 29 units (10 Doe +1 Buck in each unit) of Chanthangi goats and 29 units (10 Doe +1 Buck in each unit) of Chegu goats will be distributed to the BPL families in Lahaul Spiti, Pangi valley in Chamba and Kinnaur districts to encourage Pashmina production. He said each unit will cost Rs 70,000 to government agencies.
He said 90 per cent cost of the goats will be borne by the Central government, while the state government and individual beneficiary will share the remaining ten per cent cost in equal proportion.
Thus five per cent cost will be shared both by the state government and individual beneficiaries.
He said the tender process for distribution of goats has been completed and the livestock will be distributed to the targeted families during the current financial year.
At present Pashmina is produced predominantly in Darcha, Yochi, Rarik-Chika villages and Mayar valley in Lahaul valley besides Kibber, Langza region, Hangang Valley in Spiti valley Nako, Namgya and Leo villages in Kinnaur district and certain areas in Pangi valley of Chamba district.
There are around ten organized shawl manufacturing units working in the state which make products out of Pashmina wool are situated in Rampur Bushair of Shimla district, Sundernagar and Mandi of Mandi district, Shamshi and Hurla of Kullu district and Sangla and Reckong Peo of Kinnaur district.
Around 90 per cent Pashmina wool is used in apparels i.e. shawl, stoles and mufflers and 10 per cent in other products including high-end coat tweeds.
Pashmina wool is mainly sold through retail selling and private buying by processors in the state. Predominantly white and natural grey colour Pashmina wool produced in the state is being used in the organized shawl manufacturing units in the state.
The Pashmina producers are getting remunerative prices for Pashmina wool in the state and at present the raw Pashmina prices by private buyers/processors are approx. Rs 3500 per Kg. and the prices of this nobel fiber are showing increasing trend due to its unique quality and increasing demand of Pashmina products in the domestic and international market.
In organized and un-organized sector around 10,000-12000 artisans are working in the handloom sector in Himachal Pradesh.
As per records, the total Pashmina goat population is about 2500 in Himachal Pradesh and the state government is making an all-out effort to boost the population of goats further in the state in coming years.