However, it is available for sale in city markets only in the months of June, July and August. For the remaining months of the year, it is not the sheep from Telangana but those from the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh that are satisfying the palate of the non-vegetarians in the the city . Everyday, over 6,000 sheep and goat are slaughtered in the Greater Hyderabad region during the three months. During the remaining nine months, the number of locally supplied animals drops down to 300 to 400.
Experts said though the ratio of sheep and humans in Telangana is 2:1, the state is still not able to meet the demand and has to rely on others for most part of the year.
“The mutton from local sheep of Telangana is the most preferred meat in Hyderabad as it is tasty and juicy .The agro-climatic conditions of grazing areas and walking for miles in search of food make the meat leaner with low fat content,” Animal Husbandry Assistant director Dr V Ashok Kumar told TOI.
The reason for Telangana sheep being available for sale in city markets only between June to August is because of the breeding season.
“Majority of the lambs are born in November and December. By June, these animals are six to seven months old and ready for sale. Also, shepherds and farmers fear that the animals infect or develop diseases during rainy season. They sell the sheep in June, July and August,” Ashok Kumar said. Officials said that in the remaining nine months, the production is not enough to meet local demand at the village, mandal and district headquarters level.
Officials said that in Greater Hyderabad alone, there is a shortage of 60 metric tonnes of sheep and goat meat everyday which is filled with import of 5,000 to 6,000 animals from other states. More animals are imported from other states on Sundays and during festive seasons.
Interestingly, as per the 19th Livestock Census, Telangana has 1.28 crore sheep population and holds the number two position in sheep population in India.
Almost 20% of all India sheep is in Telangana. Yet, there is a shortage of sheep meat as 98 % of the people in Telangana are non-vegetarians according to the National Sample Survey-2014.