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Vechur Cow UPSC NOTE

 Effect of Green and White Revolutions on indigenous cattles

  • Steeped in abject poverty and food scarcity at the time of Independence, India had to lay the foundations of a vigorous industry, which would catapult us into the future.

  • Simultaneously ensure that the most basic necessities of our citizens were met.

  • Exacerbating our woes was the fact that the major bulk of our populace subsisted solely on agriculture and animal husbandry.

  • Thus making their modernisation vital.

  • Establishing a host of agricultural universities soon after Independence. 

  • We embarked on the quest to modernise our farming and livestock rearing practices, hoping to retrieve them from the depths of antiquity.

  • And though our agricultural output soared with the advent of the Green Revolution.

  • Dairy production spiked with the onset of the White Revolution.

  • These miraculous transformations also came at a pernicious cost. 

  • They reduced indigenous breeds such as the Vechur cow to the brink of extinction.

  • Acknowledged as one of the world’s smallest cattle breeds, the Vechur cow had little value in the India of the White Revolution

  • In its pursuit to boost milk production through the crossbreeding of indigenous cattle with high-yielding foreign breeds.

  • The White Revolution’s corollary was the erasure of smaller breeds such as the Vechur cow. 

  • Cross-breeding served to dilute the genetic purity of native breeds and diminish their population.

  • The Vechur cow, prized for its adaptability to local environmental conditions, found itself imperilled in the face of a sweeping shift towards larger, more commercially viable cattle. 

  • As the White Revolution gained momentum, traditional farming practices that relied on smaller-sized cattle breeds fell into disfavour.

  • The Vechur cow, with its unique characteristics, became a casualty of changing agricultural dynamics and dwindling demand

Vechur Cow and its Decline

  • No sooner was that first Vechur cow discovered than Prof. Iype poured herself wholeheartedly into a mission to resurrect and nurture not only the Vechur but several of Kerala’s other endangered indigenous breeds.

  •  Breeds such as the Kasargod, Vilwadri and Cheruvally cattle and the Attappady goat

  • Her Vechur Conservation Unit, founded at the Kerala Agricultural University with only eight cows.

  • It rose from strength to strength, boasting of more than 24 cows at the end of the first year itself.

  • As with all idealists in India, she and her team had to contend with various obstacles, even as they blazed a trail. 

  • Simultaneously contending with government officials averse to her outlook; envious colleagues who sought to foil her efforts, going so far as to cast bizarre aspersions on her; 

well-known environmentalists falsely claiming she had facilitated the “patenting” of an Indian animal abroad. 

  • But not once did she flounder or cower

  • The allure of this pioneering movement was destined to transcend the bounds of Kerala.

  • It soon gained widespread traction, finding partners in national governmental institutions.

  • Visiting the veterinary college and seeing the glory of the Vechur Conservation Project, R.M. Acharya, of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). 

  • In the event, the ICAR adopted the Vechur Conservation Project, using it as a template for the whole of India.

  • For Prof. Iype, it has never simply been about performing a scientific miracle and making history with the astounding success of her mission. 

  • She believes firmly in giving back to society, especially to the destitute farmers and cattle rearers in whose homes the Vechur once occupied pride of place. 

  • It was in this spirit that, in 1998, she established the Vechur Conservation Trust.

  • Whose purpose was to evolve a culture of community participation and enable innumerable impoverished farmers to rear the Vechur by providing them its germ-plasm

  • This has empowered them and their families to attain a greater degree of self-reliance.

  • Not only has she saved the Vechur cow, but she has also left an indelible impression upon our cultural and agricultural landscape, for which we shall forever remain indebted to her. 

  • No one will make a movie about her, but she is an authentic Indian heroine.

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