12 Sep :A Conference of State Ministers of Animal Husbandry and Dairying has been convened on 13th September to devise a strategy for accelerated growth in the livestock sector.
The Conference is being inaugurated by Agriculture Minister, Shri Sharad Pawar, and will be attended by the State Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development Ministers, concerned officers and veterinary and animal sciences experts.
Though the contribution of livestock sector to agriculture GDP has gone up in the recent years, this sector is presently facing serious constraints due to huge unproductive population, diseases and shortage of feed and fodder. It is in this context that a National Livestock Policy and a National Dairy Plan have been drawn up. The Policy contemplates to double the availability of protein from 10 gm per capita per day at present to 20 gm within a decade. The Dairy Plan would focus on improvement of cattle breeds, marketing and other issues. These items will be discussed with the State Governments during the Conference.
The Conference would also discuss issues such as feed and availability of fodder, control of livestock diseases (such as the foot and mouth disease and bird flu), preparation for natural calamities and threat emerging from global warming.
A detailed backgrounder on the subject is given below:-
Livestock have traditionally been considered as the oldest resource of the mankind and a symbol of economic prosperity in India. Livestock is the major source of animal protein through milk, meat, eggs, etc, the demand for which is constantly increasing. Contribution of livestock to total GDP has increased from 4.8 percent in 1980-81 to about 6.5 percent in 2002-03 and is currently 5.3 percent. The contribution of livestock to agriculture GDP has gone up from 13.8 percent in 1981 to 23.8 percent in 2002- 2003. This Conference of the State Ministers of Animal Husbandry and Dairying has been convened to devise strategies for achieving an accelerated and all round growth in the livestock sector which will not only enhance nutritional security through increased production of livestock origin food but will also lead to higher income potential in rural India.
The livestock sector is presently facing serious constraints due to huge unproductive population, with low genetic potential, e.g. low milk yield, low body weight etc., shortage of feed grains, fodder and pasture lands and the presence of a large number of animal diseases. All these contribute to poor productivity and low levels of production inspite of large population of livestock. In the dairy sector, only 15% of the milk produced gets processed in the organized sector. Milk cooperatives in many states are sick and unable to provide marketing channels to dairy farmers. There is also very little awareness on the safe and clean production system of livestock.
It was being contemplated for quite some time now to bring out a National Livestock Policy for holistic development of the livestock sector in the country. This is in final stages and proposed to be discussed in the Conference. The Policy aims at higher growth rate of the sector to meet the future and increasing demand of livestock products without disturbing the existing fabric of small-holding system of production. It also emerges promotion of self sustaining viable units. The Policy also contemplates to double the per capita availability of protein from approximately 10 gm at present to 20 gm within a decade. The main focus of the Policy is on improving productivity, infusion of technologies, enhanced farmer participation, safety and quality assurance, marketing linkages, restructuring of institutions and enhanced investments.
The Government is contemplating a comprehensive programme for increased milk production through a proposed National Dairy Plan, which would address the issues related to improvement of breeding stock, better utilization of feed resources and opening adequate marketing channels. Possibility of securing World Bank funding for implementation of this Dairy Plan is being explored.
Shortage of fodder is a major constraint. Various actions like distribution of quality fodder seeds, appropriate land use planning, promoting of fodder development technologies, assistance of Krishi Vigyan Kendras to promote these technologies and training on balanced feeding of livestock with appropriate supplementation are being taken. Encouraging mineral supplement, use of by-pass protein and by-pass fat are other interventions proposed. Better utilization of crop residues and use of unconventional crop residues, e.g., bagasse for supplementation of feed are being considered. Growing fodder trees in degraded forest will also be encouraged.
Two important schemes are being launched during XI Plan on sheep and goat Development and on Piggery Development. While the first one is targeted towards generating rural livelihood opportunities by promoting goat and sheep husbandry the later is more oriented towards the North_Eastern States, where there is huge demand for pork and other pig meat products .
Livestock diseases take a huge toll on our livestock every year. FMD is most economically important disease prevalent in the country for many years. During X Plan a comprehensive control programme was initiated in some pockets of the country which has yielded vary encouraging results in containment of the disease. It is proposed to expand the area under FMD control programme in XI Plan so as to achieve zonal freedom from FMD in phases.
Bird-flu as an exotic disease took a heavy toll on our poultry industry consecutively on three occasions in the last three years. The episode in West Bengal and to some extent in Tripura early this year was very serious. The last incidence was reported on 16 May, 2008. Intensive surveillance is going on in West Bengal and Tripura to ensure that the disease is no longer prevailing there before the country could consider declaring freedom from the disease again. In order to facilitate surveillance and timely diagnosis on future occurrences, more BSL-3 laboratories are being set up. Improvement of infra-structure, human resource development and public awareness on safe and bio-secure poultry farming are important initiatives that are being taken up through a World Bank supported scheme. The problem of bird-flu cannot be solved unilaterally by any country when the disease is prevailout in the entire region. A regional approach for control and containment of bird-flu is a better option. To this effect India is already part of a FAO-sponsored project on cross-border surveillance for bird-flu along with Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal. Indian Government has also set up a joint mechanism and negotiated a bilateral agreement for cooperation with Bangladesh Government on sharing of bird-flu related information and other technical inputs.
In order to mitigate the threat of breach on biosecurity and thereby compromise nutritional security, the quarantine system in the country is being revamped. Besides strengthening the existing four Animal Quarantine Stations, two more animal quarantine stations in Hyderabad and Bangalore and two more stations exclusively for aquatic animals are being set up .
The issue of climatic stress on livestock productivity is also being addressed and research areas have bee prioritized. Special emphasis is being laid on protection and conservation of indigenous breeds, who have high endurance as well as more resistance to disease etc.
The potential of the growth of livestock sector in Bihar has suffered a setback due to the unprecedented flood situation. Funds have been released for emergency procurement of vaccines. Availability of fodder and feed pellets has been facilitated through several state governments and NDDB. Senior animal husbandry Officers have been deputed to monitor the situation in Bihar. The implementing partners of some the central sponsored schemes are being urged to assist the State in rehabilitation of affected livestock farmers and providing them with suitable livelihood opportunities.