Local Goa News

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Goa’s Shwet Kapila could be cow of the future

Panaji: Agricultural scientists are viewing the local spotless white cow as the animal of the future for its healthy milk, which contains the A2 protein.
Shwet Kapila, as the breed is referred to locally, is possibly found only in Goa and if all parameters related to its breed are studied, it may receive a commercial boost for its valuable milk that has medicinal properties, sources said.
DNA tests on a few white cows in a gene testing facility of Indian council of agricultural research (ICAR), central coastal agricultural research institute (CCARI), Old Goa, have shown that these indigenous cows produce the more healthy A2 milk variety.
"We took blood samples of a few cows from different locations in Goa and separated its DNA for A2 gene and to our surprise, it distinctly has this protein gene," principal scientist (animal reproduction), ICAR-CCARI, Old Goa, E B Chakurkar said.
With awareness about health, eating habits and food increasing, importance is being slowly given to better quality milk from indigenous cows. Dairy milk produced on a larger scale is now known to contain hormones, steroids, urea and chemicals, sources said.
"With this in mind, it is necessary to conserve Shwet Kapila," Chakurkar said.
Milk contains two main types of beta-casein protein, A2 and A1, but the major chunk of milk marketed for consumption is either A1 type or a mix of A1 and A2 type.
Dairy farming being a commercial activity, the emphasis on producing milk in bulk quantity has resulted in quality losing importance.
India has 37 breeds of cows and only a few indigenous breeds. Gir, Sahiwal and Red Sindhi are found in Goa, but the state also has some strains of cows that are neither recognized nor registered.
"One of them is Shwet Kapila and it needs to be properly studied as it is suited for the local environment," scientist, veterinary pathology, ICAR-CCARI N Shivsharannpa said.
The breeds found in Goa, including Shwet Kapila, are sturdy ones and can be maintained with minimum management practices. "Showcasing this cow as Goa's indigenous breed will help conserve it," director, ICAR-CCARI, N P Singh said.
Exotic breeds Holstein-Friesian and Jersey produce 60 to 80 litres of milk, but they produce milk with A1 protein that may be harmful, according to studies.
ICAR-CCARI scientists are hopeful of registering the Shwet Kapila with national bureau of animal genetic resources (NBAGR), but concede that lot of research and documentation is needed.
"After successfully registering Agonda pig, if we can bring Shwet Kapila into prominence it may become another asset for livestock production in Goa," Chakurkar said.

TOI Goa News

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