It is not a goshala (cowshed) in the sense that is in vogue and to the understanding of general public. It is a research and development centre to conserve and propagate the native Indian traditional breeds, which are in the process of extinction. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has identified and organised the Indian cow breeds into 32 varieties. But, of these, the Chitrakoot Govikas Kendra secured bulls and cows of 10 different breeds. There are at present 168 animals belonging to these 10 superior breeds at the Kendra.
To enrich and propagate the varieties sustainable at Chitrakoot’s climate and social conditions, is one of the objectives of this centre. The propagation of better yielding and sustainable breeds produces the real wealth. Initially the centre procured 68 animals, both bulls and cows about five years back, which have multiplied to 168 now. Research during these years particularly based on the parameters-production of milk, dry resistance, calving intervals (period between producing a calf), the dry period (period in which the cow becomes dry), etc.-showed four out of the 10 categories are sustainable to propagate these breeds around Chitrakoot. Thus about 14 bulls belonging to these breeds are supplied to different centres and about 80 villages for cross-breeding with the native varieties and this apart, efforts are also being made to propagate these breeds through artificial insemination methods.
Government agencies with full faith and conviction have been trying to cross breed the local breeds with foreign breeds like Jersey, etc. all these years and the results have proved to be counter-productive. Slowly these agencies, having realised this problem after spending crores of rupees and the valuable time, are slowly coming to a realistic approach to propagate the native breeds on a selection basis that can adapt to the local climatic conditions.
According to Dr Ram Prakash Sharma, in-charge of the project run by Deendayal Research Institute (DRI), nowhere in India such an effort has been made either through government agencies or by a private organisation in research and development simultaneously on 10 identified native breeds out of the 32 breeds available in India. He also says that the impact of these systematic studies and efforts of DRI in this region will be visible in another five years in improving the cattle-wealth and in making the farmers self-sustaining in this region.