Livestock sector plays a critical role in the welfare of India’s rural population. It contributes 9% to gross domestic product (GDP) and employs 8% of the labour force. This sector is emerging as an important growth leverage of the Indian economy. As a component of agricultural sector, its share in gross domestic product has been rising gradually, while that of crop sector has been on the decline.
In recent years, livestock output has grown at a rate of about 5% a year, higher than the growth in agricultural sector. This enterprise provides a flow of essential food products, draught power, manure, employment, income, and export earnings. Distribution of livestock wealth is more unrestricted, compared to land.
Therefore, from the equity and livelihood perspective it is considered an important component in poverty alleviation programmes. Population of some of the purebred small ruminants, equines, pigs and pack animals has come down considerably and such breeds have come to the category of threatened breeds in the country.
The farms or the farmers unit in their respective breeding tract are to be established with cent per cent central assistance for breeds of these animals wherein their population is less than 10,000 with active participation of state governments and NGOs, etc.
A new centrally sponsored scheme for conservation of threatened breeds has been started during 10th five-year plan with a budget outlay of Rs. 1500 lakh. During 2005-06, an amount of Rs. 406.92 lakh has been released for conservation of several indigenous breeds of animal, which really need to be conserved.
1. Cattle and Buffalo Production:
Since mid-sixties a broad framework of the cattle and buffalo breeding policy is being followed which, envisaged selective breeding of indigenous breeds in their breeding tracts and use of such improved breeds for upgrading of the nondescript stock. Production of quality indigenous bulls has been a long-neglected area and would require a major thrust in order to harvest the best male germplasm available in the country.
The present production capacity of frozen semen doses is about 30 million against the estimated requirement of 65 million doses annually. Except for a few pockets in important breeding tracts and in sperm stations, indigenous bulls of unknown pedigree and with poor quality semen are generally used. Crossbreeding, which was to be taken up in a restricted manner and in areas of low producing cattle, has now spread indiscriminately all over the country?
Continuous emphasis on cross-breeding with exotic breeds even in the tracts of indigenous breeds led to the near extinction of some of the known breeds. Further, the indiscriminate use of contaminated semen or infected bulls results in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases like infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR), brucellosis, tuberculosis, vibriosis, trichomoniasis, etc. at an alarming rate.
Of total buffalo population of 152 million, India possesses 92.2 million buffaloes (53%) while China and Pakistan have 22.8 and 20.2 million buffaloes, respectively. The excellent dairy type buffalo breeds such present in India and are known for high fat content in their milk. In comparison to cattle, buffaloes are more versatile in terms of adverse climatic condition. Population of Indian buffaloes mostly consists of riverine buffaloes.
There are 18 River buffalo breeds in South Asia, the best known breeds used for both milch and draught purposes are Murrah, Nili/Ravi, Jafarabadi, Surti, Mehsana and Nagpuri, Of all the domestic animals, the Asian water buffalo holds the greatest promise and potential for production. Most of the buffaloes of the Indian subcontinent belong to a non-descript group known as the Desi buffalo.
The production of buffalo milk in the Asian-Pacific region exceeds 45 million tonnes annually of which over 30 million tonnes are produced in India alone. The individual 3,000 litre-per-lactation female, considered a record 30 years ago, is now common. There are many which yield 4,000 litres in a lactation of 300 days.
Out of total buffalo milk production of 54.9 million tons of world, India produces 34.8 million tons while share of China and Pakistan is 2.2 and 14.8 million tons, respectively. India, being the world largest buffalo milk producer recorded 20.0 and 29.3 million tons in 1982 and 1992, respectively, with a growth rate of 3.3% per year.
Twenty-seven acknowledged indigenous breeds of cattle and seven breeds of buffaloes are there in India. Several govt., sponsored schemes are being implemented for genetic improvement of cattle and buffalo with a view to enhance the per capita availability of consumption of milk through increased milk production.
The National Project for Cattle and Buffalo Breeding envisages 100% grant-in-aid to implementing agencies. The project will also promote about 14,000 private artificial insemination (AI) practitioners and buildup an annual frozen semen production capacity of 66 million doses. Since inception, 26 states have been assisted with Rs.202.52 crore up to 31 March 2005 for participating in the project.
A Central Herd Registration Scheme for identification and location of superior germplasm of cattle and buffaloes, propagation of superior germ stock, regulating the sale and purchase, help in formation of breeders’ society and to meet requirement of superior bulls in different parts of the country is also being implemented.
The Government has established Central Herd Registration Unit in four breeding tracts, viz. Rohtak, Ahmedabad, Ongole, and Ajmer. The seven Central Cattle Breeding Farms at Suratgarh (Rajasthan), Chiplima and Sunabeda (Orissa), Dharnrod (Gujarat), Hessarghatta (Karnataka), Alamadi (Tamil Nadu) and Andeshnagar (Uttar Pradesh) are involved in scientific breeding programmes of cattle and buffaloes.
The Central Frozen Semen Production and Training Institute, Hessarghatta (Karnataka) produced 13.43 lakh doses and supplied 14 74 lakh doses of frozen semen of high pedigreed Sahiwal, Red Sindhi, Holstein Friesian, Jersey, crossbred and Murrah buffalo to different States for their AI Programmes.
The performance of cross-breds was much higher than indigenous breeds. The Friesian crosses had higher milk yield, longer productive life and completed more number of lactations than other breed crosses. Variability in performance of cross-breds under field conditions could be ascribed to different availability of inputs, agro-ecological conditions, type of farmer and the indigenous and exotic breeds used in crossbreeding. Cross-bred cattle have higher milk productivity and reproductive efficiency, hence is more profitable than buffaloes and local cattle.
Central Cattle Development Organizations (CCDO):
Central cattle development organizations include the 7 central cattle breeding farms, the Central Frozen Semen Production and Training Institute, Hessarghatta and the 4 central herd registration units, which have been established by the department in different regions of the country for production of genetically superior breed of bull calves, good quality frozen semen and identification of location of superior germplasms of cattle and buffaloes, to meet the requirement of bulls and frozen semen doses in different parts of the country.
Central Cattle Breeding Farms (CCBF):
The Central Cattle Breeding Farms located at Suratgarh (Rajasthan), Chiplima and Sunabeda (Orissa), Dhamrod (Gujarat), Hessarghatta (Kamataka), Alamadhi (Tamil Nadu) and Andeshnagar (UP). These are maintaining bull mothers of important cattle and buffalo breeds which include Tharparkar, Red Sindni, Jersey, and Holstein Friesian. Crossbred (HF × Tharparkar, Jersey × Red Sindhi), Surti and Murrah.
The farms produce bull calves from these bull mothers and supply high pedigree bull calves and bulls to the State Governments and other breeding organisations for production of frozen semen. The farms provide breeding facilities to the cows and buffaloes of the nearby villages free of cost and also conduct training of farmers in dairy farming under Animal Husbandry’ Extension Programme.
Central Frozen Semen Production and Training Institute, Hessarghatta:
A premier institute producing frozen semen doses of indigenous exotic and crossbreed cattle bulls and Murrah buffalo bulls for use in artificial insemination. The institute also provides training in frozen semen technology to technical officers of the State Governments.
National Project for Cattle and Buffalo Breeding (NPCBB):
Government of India has initiated a major programme from October 2000, “National Project for Cattle and Buffalo Breeding”(NPCBB) over a period of 10 years for genetic improvement of cattle and buffaloes. National Project for Cattle and Buffalo Breeding envisages genetic up-gradation and development of indigenous breeds on priority basis.
2. Buffalo Production:
India is a country of rich resources and agriculture is a livelihood of about 70% people and livestock is part and parcel of it. India is richest in bovine population, highest in milk production, and buffalo is major milch animal of the country. To further advance the animal agriculture in general and buffalo production in particular through balanced feeding, appropriate breeding, management and health care, a regional focus becomes inevitable.
The water buffalo species are divided into two types, the swamp buffalo and the riverine buffalo. Swamp buffaloes are lighter in weight (males approximately 650-700 kg and females 500 kg mature weight) and have a lower milk production capacity, i.e. 430 to 620 kg of milk per lactation.
These buffaloes are used mainly for draught power in rice cultivation in the paddy fields of Southeast Asia. The riverine buffalo, on the other hand, is heavier (males approximately 900-1000 kg and females 550 kg mature weight). Their milk production capacity is far higher than that of swamp buffaloes, ranging from 1000 to 2000 kg per lactation and varying among countries and strains.
These domesticated buffalo has been little exposed to human interference such as artificial breeding because of its already perfect adaptation to the harsh environment in the swampy rice fields of Asia. Water buffalo is potentially a most important tropical bovine species, especially in very hot areas where rivers and swamps abound.
Challenges and Opportunities for Indian Meat Industry:
i. Setting up of the state-of-the-art abattoir-cum-meat processing plants.
ii. Packaging of technologies to raise male buffalo calves for meat production.
iii. Buffalo rearing under contractual farming as backward integration to the modern abattoirs for meat production.
iv. Establishing disease-free zones for rearing animals.
If the green revolution had led to self-sufficiency in food grains, the white revolution saw India occupy the number one position in milk production in the world, and the blue revolution brought about increase in fish production, India is now on the edge to attain the pink revolution through buffalo meat production and achieving the number one position in meat production which could be achieved by reducing the mortality rate in male buffalo calves (80%), and rearing the animals scientifically for quality meat production.
The production of buffalo milk in the Asian-Pacific region exceeds 45 million tonnes annually, of which over 30 million tonnes are produced in India alone. With selective breeding, improved management and the establishment of more dairy herds, milk yields are increasing worldwide.
Buffaloes are the most multipurpose of all work animals in the assortment of tasks, which they can be taught to undertake. Presently, the output of thousands of buffaloes is in the form of work energy rather than the direct provision of food as milk or meat.
Buffalo is remarkable for its feed conversion ability, but we do not yet understand how, or why, or whether that capacity can be further improved. The young buffalo calf achieves a daily weight gain of 800 grams without any supplement feed. Similarly, the power of the full-grown work-buffalo does not come from high-level nutrients.
Milk is an important and a cheap source of nutrition in rural areas of India. Small scale producer only produce about 9 liters per day while large-scale farms produce at least 55 liters per day. Average milk production per household has a direct association with farm size, and so is the percent share of milk sold. The average per capita consumption of milk per day is higher for large-scale producers compared to smallholders.
In the western part of India, some of the fanners sell a large proportion of their milk to dairy cooperatives and in turn, purchase ghee from them for home consumption. The average price an Indian dairy farm family gets for buffalo milk was about 11.6 rupees per liter in both regions, while the price received for cow milk was higher, in the northern region compared to the western region.
3. Sheep and Goat Production:
Sheep and goats are important species of livestock for India. They contribute greatly to the agrarian economy, especially in areas where crop and dairy farming are not economical, and play an important role in the livelihood of a large proportion of small and marginal farmers and landless labourers.
Small ruminants especially goats contribute to the livelihoods of millions of rural poor in most of the developing countries of the Asia and Africa, where 95% of the world’s goat population is concentrated and also the majority of world’s poor live. Goat production has witnessed excellent growth over the years despite a negative campaign against it for its perceived adverse impact on vegetation, forest and grazing lands.
Small ruminants are well integrated in the farming systems of the small and marginal farmers of India who find in goats a vast potential for their socio-economic upliftment. Women were found to be particularly more inclined towards goats while men were more focused on large animals. Goats offer a strong opportunity to development agencies for suitable interventions including micro-credit, extension, technical and marketing support especially to women, landless and small farmers.
Small farmers and landless agricultural labourers are increasingly relying on goats for meeting their cash requirements. Livestock Census (2003), showed there are about 561.47 million sheep and 124.36 million goats in the country. About five million farming family in the country are engaged in the rearing of small ruminants.
Main reasons for low productivity by small ruminants are poor exploitation of genetic potential of indigenous animals, low absorption of available technology, inadequate resource of feed and fodder, insufficient health cover, inadequate marketing and credit support, etc.
The estimated wool production was about 485 lakh kg during 2003-2004. The production of wool was 44.50 million kg during 2004-05. The expected wool production during 2005-06 stands at 50.0 million kg. The Central Sheep Breeding Farm, Hissar is trying to produce superior quality breeds of sheep, which would be disease resistance, having good feed conversion ratio and superior cross-bred.
Goats contribute 35% of the total meat and 3% of the total milk produced in the country (NCA, 1976). India exported wool and woolens worth $143.7 million (Rs.1 150 million) in 1978-79. Export earnings from finished leather and leather goods, including raw and processed sheep- and goat-skins, reached $326.1 million (Rs.2 609 million) during 1978-79 (EPCFL and IM, 1980).
In 1978, there were 40.43 million sheep and 70.20 million goats in India, producing 118 million kg of mutton and 276 million kg of chevon, 717 million kg of milk, 33.3 million kg of wool and 26 117 and 71 148 million tonnes of fresh sheep and goat-skins, respectively (FAO, 1979).
The output of Indian sheep and goats is low, yet considering the nutritional and physical environmental conditions under which they are reared, it cannot be considered inefficient which can be attributed to inadequate grazing resources, disease problems and serious lack of organized efforts for genetic improvement.
Indian sheep and goats breed throughout the year with no control on the breeding season. Sheep and goat mortality is quite high due to several dreaded diseases, i.e. sheep pox, enterotoxaemia and anthrax in sheep, and pneumonia, PPR clostridial diseases and lumbar paralysis in goats are common and result in high mortality. Apart from these, some internal parasites also cause large morbidity and economic loss.
Goat population and productivity per animal in India has increased at the fastest rate among all major livestock species during last two decades. Organised marketing and prevention of emerging diseases will help in more milk and meat production from goat population of India. The goat improvement programme is to be given a push through extending credit to the poor landless farmers.
There has been negligible increase in the sheep population in the last decade. Production of wool has increased from 43.3 million kg in 1996-97 to 49.0 million kg in 2001-02. The 9th 5-year plan target of wood production (54.0 million kg) was not achieved. To enhance the quality and quantity of carpet wool, shepherds need incentives like credit, health coverage, breed improvement programmes and timely disposal of wool and surplus animals at a reasonable price in the sheep rearing states of India.
4. Poultry Production:
Poultry industry has done a tremendous improvement from a backyard activity to an organised, scientific and vibrant industry. It is estimated that the egg production in the county is about 33.6 billion numbers (2001-02) against the 9th 5-year plan target of 35 billion numbers. The most overwhelming growth among the livestock products has been recorded in eggs and poultry meat. This achievement in poultry development attributed to the private sector for commercial pure-line breeding.
However, despite the huge investment made, mostly by the private sector, the poultry-processing sector is incurring losses. Poultry farming should be declared as an agricultural activity. The poultry production model in vogue (high input-high output using commercially developed strain of birds) has been primarily responsible for the rapid growth in production of eggs and broiler meat in the country, but it is successful mainly in large scale units (more than 1,000 units of birds).
Due to high feed cost, non-availability of credit and marketing support, most of the small farmers have become contract farmers and are exploited by middlemen. Interventions by government organizations are required for the promotion of poultry in rural areas. Indigenous poultry breeds, including the improved strains that can survive with low quality raw feed and better resistance against diseases, can be reared under free range conditions by rural unemployed youth and women for some additional income and employment.
Poultry industry in India has made remarkable progress during the last three decades evolving from backyard ventures to a full-fledged commercial agro- industrial business mainly due to widespread research and development initiated by the government and subsequently taken up by the organized private sector.
Presently, India ranks among the top 5 egg producing nations in the world with the total annual egg production of about 40.4 billion in 2003-04. Very recently, the private organizations are very well placed to meet the requirement of high producing birds suited only for the intensive organized poultry sector, but the unorganized sector, which contributes a substantial proportion of egg production, is still neglected. Poultry is the fastest growing sector of Indian agriculture.
Broiler production was started as a novelty in early 1970s and has turned out to be popular with its rearing of 750 million in year 2000. The steep growth in broiler production is also reflected in the increased number of broiler hatcheries from 77 in 1980 to over 750 in the year 2000.
Broiler production in 1993 was estimated to be 300 million broilers and with spurt in Broiler production in 90’s the expected production in 1998 is approximately 800 million broilers and with poultry industries annual growth around 15 to 20% per annum, the sky is the limit for Poultry in India.
The value of productivity from poultry sector is nearly 20000 crores and it provides direct or indirect employment to over 2 million people. About 25% of the total egg production in the country comes from Desi poultry, which is unorganized rural backyard system. A target for achieving production of over 52 billion eggs by 2011-12, at a growth rate of 4.3% has been visualized by the Government of India. Poultry sector, besides employment generation and subsidiary income increase, provides nutritional security especially to the rural poor. Further, landless labourers derive more than 50% of their income from livestock especially poultry.
Central Poultry Development Organizations:
During the 10th five-year-plan, it was decided to combine all the existing 13 Central Poultry Development Organizations region-wise into 4 centres so as to convert the poultry developmental activities in a single window system encouraging backyard/rural poultry production. Diversification of poultry production by taking up production of Duck, Turkey, Japanese quail and Guinea fowl, etc.
India has almost all major commercial breeds of chicks from America, England and Europe. India is self-reliant in feed ingredient production and local feed plants produce, quality feed for poultry sector. Before taking up a new poultry project, the basic consideration is about its financial viability and technical feasibility. For this, a farmer/extension worker needs to know about the size of capital investment, down-to-earth guidelines to evaluate the economics of the project, comparative data on a layer/broiler farm unit.
After that, a project has to be prepared. These and other aspects will be presented here. Hatchery management has undergone remarkable changes in recent years. Its role in disease control, in incubating eggs and hatching chicks is very important in achieving optimum success in the number of first-quality chicks. Pellet feed has a positive effect on broiler growth and feed conversion owing to increased feed consumption, less feed wastage, reduced bulkiness of feed and more homogenous feed. Besides, each pellet is complete feed and toxic pathogens and anti- nutritional factors are destroyed during pellet production.
5. Swine Production:
Swine production is of significant importance, particularly in the northeastern region of the country. Livestock in this region comprises cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig. Many tribal populations have no habit of rearing cattle for milk production due to shortage of feed and fodder and absence of commercialized dairy and piggery and therefore, animals are reared largely for meat. Pig husbandry has flourished much in the animal husbandry sector in the northeastern region inhabited by tribal people.
The region also has a substantial pig population, which constitutes around 30% of the country’s pig population. The bulk of the population is, however, of the indigenous type whose growth and productivity is very low. The major difficulty in pig development is the acute shortage of breeding males. Cross-breeding policy can bring improvement with subsidies provided to the small and marginal pig rearers.
A profitable sector of north-east region without much investment in housing and feeding practice. Pork can replace animal protein and this is cheap and easily available, moreover swine also have better immunity so, cost due to treatment is largely neglected. Among farm animals, pigs have special importance, as it is one of the most profitable animals farming particularly the northeastern region.
As per the latest livestock census, the pig population of the country increased from 13.29 million in 1997 to 14.14 million in 2003, with an annual growth rate of 1.25% (Livestock Census, 2003). In the north-east region, the highest population is in Assam (12.62 lac) followed by Nagaland (6.44 lac), Meghalaya (2.94 lac), Mizoram 180 thousands, Manipur 400 thousands, Arunachal Pradesh 250 thousands, Tripura 235 thousands and Sikkim 30 thousands (1997).
Pig husbandry is the most important activity in the animal husbandry sector in the northeastern region inhabited by tribal people. The pig sheds are made up of locally available bamboo, wooden planks which is cost effective and feeder and waters are also made up of wooden planks.
Feed provided to pigs are locally available grasses, i.e., tapioca, sweet potato leaves and tubers along with small concentrate and 1.53 kg kitchen waste/pig/day. Generally, 10 quintal leftover feed (Kitchen, hotel waste) can increase 20-45 kg in weight of pigs provided the waste should be free from any toxic particle ensured by proper boiling a common practice.
The pork can be sold very easily in local market and other factory can also buy swine for making pork product. Swine production can be a source of employment for landless tribes and unemployed persons to increase their development and food which is not edible for human being can be used in swine feeding.
The pig is one of the most efficient food converting animals among domesticated livestock, and can play an important role in improving the socio-economic status of the weaker sections of the society.
Exotic breeds of pigs like Large white Yorkshire, Hampshire, Berkshire, and Saddleback are maintained in the 200 pig breeding farms of state governments, agricultural universities and Krishi Vigyan Kendra. The department was implementing a centrally sponsored scheme “Assistance to States for Integrated Piggery Development” since 1991-92.
Though it was discontinued after the 9th 5-year plan, it is being revived 2005-06 onwards as a component of the new macro-scheme “National Project for Improvement of Poultry and Small Animals”. A major constraint in piggery development is lack of adequate high quality breeding stock. To overcome this problem, exotic breeds of 280 pigs of Large White Yorkshire, Landrace and Hampshire were imported by this department for state government pig farms, from USA during 1999-2000.
These pigs have now started producing piglets. There are more than 128 lakh pigs in the country of which approximately 14.5% are graded and exotic variety. There are about 158 pig breeding farms in the country run by the state governments/union territories. Exotic breeds like Large White Yorkshire, Hampshire and Landrace are maintained at these farms.
A new scheme on piggery development, viz. ‘Integrated Piggery Development’ has been initiated, on the basis of evaluation of the earlier scheme by NABARD, during 2006-07. Integrated piggery development scheme will be part of a new restructured centrally sponsored macro-management scheme, viz. National Project for Improvement of Poultry and Small Animals.