Our country has observed an exceptional growth in the dairy and livestock industry for the last few decades. Animal husbandry sector provides large self-employment to millions of households in rural areas, which has helped in achieving a remarkable improvement in respect to milk production.
Apart from achieving a sustainable goal for milk production and disease prevention, stress should also be given to develop database to take up future strategies for overall well-being of animal husbandry sector including dairying and creating environment friendly jobs for the rural households. The livestock sector facilitates poor and landless farmers to earn by using common-land resources and crop byproducts that would otherwise become waste maintaining ecological balance.
Sustainable Development of Livestock Sector:
Animal husbandry and dairying is high priority area as for as sustainable development is concerned. The need of the day is a sustainable and economically feasible livestock farming including poultry farming for generation of employment through entrepreneurship. The overall growth rate for India is fixed around 6%. The rural women play a major role in maintaining animal husbandry by directly involving into breeding, feeding, management and care of animals and thus being a part of sustainable animal husbandry development.
Development of this sector can result in a more reasonable improvement of the rural economy and contribute to reduction of poverty. For an economically viable livestock development, technological support is crucial not only for productivity but also to decrease the unit cost of production.
Livestock sector plays a crucial role in sustaining rural economy and livelihood through generation of eco-jobs for rural people. Livestock rearing in India is mainly practiced as a backyard production system wherein the farmers rear a few livestock specially for meeting the household requirements. Thus, by being as an important means of income and employment for these house-holds livestock helps alleviate poverty and help income generation.
The livestock sector contribution to the agricultural gross domestic product has risen from about 17% in 1980-81 to 26% now. Further it has been found that most of the livestock population is owned by the small and marginal farmers, who possess 71% of cattle, 63% of buffaloes, 66% of small ruminants, 70% of pigs and 74% of poultry. This implies that marginal and small holders derive a considerable proportion of their income from livestock.
Livestock sector not only provides food and nutritional security but also acts as a subsidiary source of income for the farmers, in the mixed crop-livestock systems. Further the livestock provide draught power and act as a source of organic manure to crop sector. It also produces hides, skins, bones, blood and fiber for different industries helping the growth of the animal husbandry sector simultaneously with generating eco-jobs for rural households.
Eco-Jobs and Livestock Sector Development for Sustainable Livelihood:
Eco-jobs are knowledge intensive commenced by the digital, space and biotechnological revolutions, provides infrequent opportunities for realizing the goal of jobs for all.
Sustainable livelihood opportunities hold the key to both peace and progress through generation of eco-jobs in the rural areas. In the era of globalization the livestock sector is facing severe problems in respect to production, marketing and export of livestock product, which earn livelihood for rural people. This can be overcome if we make sustainable livelihoods opportunities for marginal landless farmers by providing them the facility and education of eco-jobs.
Strategy building in this direction will help through location-specific jobs, livestock resources of the area, development of technology-driven projects, women’s participation in rural economy building, infrastructure development for small- scale livestock production system and utilization of livestock waste. Development of eco-enterprises for livestock, poultry, and dairy sectors will assist the country to progress rapidly in the technological transformation in animal husbandry of small rural and urban enterprises.
India is largely rural with more than 60% of our population dependent on agriculture and allied activities. Ecologically sound agriculture is knowledge intensive. Farm women and men need dynamic information relating to meteorological, management and marketing factors as these are related to animal husbandry.
The new approach to productivity improvement and employment generation is also information and knowledge intensive. There is presently a disconnection between what farm families need by way of dynamic information and what the conventional extension agencies are able to provide. It is also important to address the need for demand driven and value added information, which is time and location specific.
Apart from information related to farming of animals, the rural people urgently need access to healthcare information. Increased health expenditure is an important cause of farmers’ indebtedness, leading occasionally to suicides. Information on the health status of livestock and poultry for livelihoods of poor and the marginal farmers in rural India need attention. There is also need for promoting functional literacy among the adult illiterate and making learning joyful for the young through interactive methodologies.
Rural Knowledge Centres (RKC):
These were founded by Dr. Swaminathan for overall development of rural people and make them self-sufficient in terms of livelihood.
RKCs provide several micro-enterprises training programmes such as production of Trichogramma chilonis, Trichoderma viridae, vermicompost, manufacturing products from agricultural and livestock waste, backyard ornamental fish breeding, sea farming, cage fishing, sea weed farming, aquaculture estates, pens culture in estuaries, edible oyster production, ornamental fish growing, training and creating eco-jobs like organic animal production, climate change analysts, energy specialists, aqua-cultural veterinarians, etc. generating awareness on the value of natural resources like mangroves, coral reefs, etc. These centres also offer computer aided learning for the rural children, distribution of quality literacy on phytosanitary measures.
It arranges interdisciplinary research and education for sustainable use of natural resources leading to the strengthening of the ecological basis. It also ensures sustainable income and generation of eco-jobs for the poor rural population, organizing workshops and seminars for policy makers for widespread adoption of eco-technologies in agriculture including animal husbandry sector, while encouraging the efficient use of energy and natural resources.
Eco-Jobs and Field Schemes:
It helps in the creation of eco-jobs and the development of bio-villages imparting knowledge of ecotechnic for the well-being of livestock sector in rural areas. These also identify useful models of traditional ecological knowledge and management useful for ecotechnic applications by using natural resources and bye products of animal’s origin for sustainable economy of the rural households.
Animal husbandry is focusing in indigenous practices to enhance the capacity of the farmers in animal health care aspects, soil testing and the establishment of low cost soil testing facilities at the village level and area-specific mineral supplementation for achieving maximum production of livestock with minimum possible expenditure. Mineral mixture prepared for Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh helping the rural people in respect to more productivity by their livestock. Eco-jobs facilitate women farmers to develop eco-friendly prawn farming models.
Eco-Jobs and Sustainable Livestock Sector:
It can be defined in terms of social sustainability. The concept of sustainable agriculture in prosperous nations is different from the concept in a poor nation. In developed countries, the problem is to preserve the high standard of living they have already achieved. In the poor countries, the problem is to get some standard of living for most of the people.
They look at sustainability from a more environmental perspective, while for us sustainability is environmental, social and related to gender equality. That’s what we do on our research programme. We put a matrix of questions: is it socially sustainable? Is it pro-women? Is it ecologically sustainable? And of course, is it economically viable?
According to Lester Brown, the writer of Eco-Economy, How do we achieve sustainable economic transformation, when all decision-makers—whether political leaders, corporate planners, investment bankers or individual consumers—are guided by market signals, not the principles of ecological sustainability?’ The answer to this challenge lies in achieving a paradigm shift to an eco-economy.
The prospects now available for implementing environment-friendly technologies in the area of agriculture and many of the eco-friendly technologies have good merits in animal husbandry like, taking the Indian Dairy Industry as an example. India is now the world leader in milk production. However, India’s dairy industry is largely based on the use of agricultural residues as feed and not grains, which is due to the capability of ruminating animals to digest cellulose.
This is an example of the technology of production by masses, in contrast to the mass production technologies adopted in industrialized countries. The book indicates the uncommon opportunities now available for eco-jobs and eco-entrepreneurship. Hereafter good ecology will be good business and it is hence in the long-term interests of industry that they adopt environmentally benign technologies.
Agriculture, comprising crop and animal husbandry, fisheries, forestry and agro-processing, is the backbone of the livelihood security system of rural areas, where more than 70% of India’s population live. A considerable proportion of this population has no assets like land, livestock, fishpond or any commercially viable enterprise. The poor are also often illiterate. Therefore, the Virtual Academy will give particular emphasis to fostering sustainable livelihood options both in the farm and non-farm sectors.