What are Military Farms? Why Indian Army has closed them?
Indian Army has closed its Military farms on March 31 after 132 years of service. Military farms are the farms that were formed with an aim to supply hygienic cow milk to troops in garrisons across British India.
- Now, the military farms have been closed and all the officers and workers of the farms have been redeployed within the Ministry to continue providing service to the organization.
- Various recommendations were given in the past to shut down the farms.
- In the year 2012, the Quarter Master General branch had recommended their closure.
- After this again in December 2016 Lt. Gen. DB Shekatkar (retd) committee also suggested the shutdown of farms.
- The first military farm was formed on February 1, 1889, at Allahabad.
- After independence, the farms increased with 30,000 heads of cattle in 130 farms all over India.
- In the 1990s, farms were even established in Leh and Kargil.
- For over a century, these farms supplied 3.5 crore litres of milk and 25,000 MT of hay yearly.
- The farms were required as cantonments were located at a distance from urban areas.
- Now with urban expansion, cantonments have also come within towns and cities and milk procurement is being increasingly done from the open market.
- Various allegations of corruption surrounding the farms were also noticed over the years. This was also one of the reasons contributing to the shut down of the farms.
- The farms are also credited with introducing organized dairying in India and pioneering the technique of artificial insemination of cattle.
- These farms provided yeoman service during the 1971 war, supplying milk at the Western and Eastern war fronts as well as during the Kargil operations to the Northern Command.
They established “Project Freiswal” in association with the Ministry of Agriculture. Project Freiswal is credited to be the largest cattle cross-breeding programme in the world. These farms also teamed up with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in the development of bio-fuel.