Hyderabad: Good times are here for Telangana’s own cattle breed, Poda Thurupu, with recognition from the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) seeing the breed’s popularity soaring, and with it, the fortunes of the cattle farmers and breeders of Amrabad in Nagarkurnool too.
Prices have shot up, from around Rs 40,000 a pair to about Rs 70,000, while cattle farmers from other States too are now driving into Amrabad looking for the breed, the population of which has shot from about 15,000 to almost double now.
Before bifurcation of the Telugu States, the recognised cattle breed in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh was the Ongole bull. The search for a successor in Telangana saw the Telangana State Biodiversity Board (TSBB) studying and submitting a report to the NBAGR on the Poda Thurupu, a cattle breed endemic to Amrabad.
In January 2020, the NBAGR recognised the breed as Telangana’s indigenous cattle breed and now, the Poda Thurupu, known for its strength and draught power, is a star.
Easily recognisable by the blotches all over the body, the breed is also unique in appearance, with either white coat and brown patches or red/brown coat with white patches and straight horns. It is endemic to areas in and around Amrabad, in the Nallamala forest and is commonly reared by the Lambada tribe there.
According to Dr Shilpi Sharma, Regional Coordinator of TSBB, about 20 villages in that region have historically been known to rear this breed. “This breed didn’t receive the attention it deserves but it is no less than other top breeds which are region-specific. People in those regions have been rearing these animals for years and with this recognition, they will receive benefits from the government, which will contribute greatly to their lives,” says Dr Sharma.
Sabyasachi Das, of Watershed Support Services and Activities Network (WASSAN) researched the breed for years before submitting a thorough report that was instrumental in this recognition.
“We researched immensely and found out that this breed is very beneficial to farmers, as it is a low-maintenance breed. It doesn’t require any specific cattle food and can just graze,” says Das, adding that the recognition helped the rearers economically, as the price of the breed increased dramatically in the last one year.
Echoing this is G Hanumanthu, president of Amrabad Poda Thurupu Lakshmi Gau Sangam formed by bringing together Poda Thurupu breeders from the region. “The cost of a pair of calves has shot up to Rs 65,000-70,000 now, while before recognition, it was only Rs 40,000. The population too has gone up from 15,000 a couple of years ago to almost double that now. This has made many people take up rearing of this breed and the cattle population has also increased,” he says.
The Telangana government has banned artificial insemination of the breed to prevent cross-breeding of the Thurupu.
According to Hanumanthu, people from other States too were buying the Thurupu. “We are selling calves to Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and other States in recent times,” he says, adding that they were hoping for more government support in the form of insurance and other necessary financial aspects.
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