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Saturday, 14 December 2013

POOR RURAL PEOPLE & ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

Primary purpose of this blog is to highlight the special role of the small holder (particularly SC/ST) in sustaining and gaining income through improved Animal Husbandry practices. This has got a greater relevance when we weigh of the resultant benefit to the community through diverse animal resources in terms of human development, against the economic development where there is an opulence of money accrued through individual profit. “Human development report” published by UNDP, crisply analysed the benefit accrued by various economic groups as a result of economic development. 86% shares of benefit from world GDP went to the richest twenty per cent, 13% to middle sixty per cent and 1% went to the poorest  twenty per cent. Sixty eight per cent share of the benefit from foreign direct investments go to the 20% richest, thirty per cent to the middle 60% and only one per cent to the poorest 20%. The case of the small holder in the sector of livestock and animal resources need much greater and concerted attention in the backdrop that the world richest animal bio-diversity is still available in our country, waiting to be explored and tapped optimally.

The remarkable achievement by millions of small holders made through milk producers’ co-operatives involving 40 million people has almost made the country world’s largest milk producer. The contributions from miniscule units culminated in producing milk worth 55 billion rupees annually. This success story strengthens the case of the small holder. Unfortunately, the small holders in the sectors like sheep, goat, swine’s, poultry, equines and other animal resources should have received the highest priority in the welfare economy. A holistic, need-based service with delivery of relevant inputs near their establishment is essential since women and children are the main players involved in this endeavor. Intervention in the form of information, service, primary support for collection, transport, storage or marketing had not received the priority the small holders deserve.

Animal husbandry in India, as also agriculture, has become strongly caste based. Only lower caste people are engaged in this profession. There are various lower castes that are assigned the duty of looking after different kinds of animals. Without any education they could not improve the livestock. The high caste and educated people did not care to improve the animal wealth because they were not supposed to engage in such ‘menial jobs’. The result is that after thousands of years of animal rearing, practically no improvement had taken place in animal husbandry in the villages.

Even then, animal husbandry remained part and parcel of Indian agriculture. Cultivation of land and rearing of animals always went together because most of the farm power and manure came from the domestic animals. India has largest domestic animal population in the world but is last in their productivity. The average Indian farmer is ignorant of most of the factors of animal husbandry.

No attention was given on improvement of animal husbandry till 1960. After that some cattle breeding stations and research stations were established. The project directorate for cattle breeding is located in Meerut (U.P.). The directorate is having eight All India Coordinated projects and under these projects a total of 95 centres are established: 43 in State Agriculture Universities, 16 under ICAR and 36 under private and non-governmental institutes. Besides these there are 3 deemed Universities dealing with specific programmes in Animal Husbandry. They are Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar (U.P.), National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, Haryana and National Institute of Animal Centres, Karnal, Haryana. Various types of researches are being done in these centres and the three deemed universities.

There are 150 government-breeding farms all over the country. Their function is to maintain the pure strains of the indigenous breeds and to improve progressively the nucleus of individual breeds, demonstrate modern methods of feeding, disease control, pedigree registration, herd book maintenance under the Herd Registration Scheme. Number of measures was taken to improve the breeds of the cattle and to increase the milk production. Today India is the largest producer of milk, leather and leather products in the world.

State-wise, the largest number of cattle is found in Uttar Pradesh followed by Madya Pradesh, Bihar, Maharastra, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Gujrat and Punjab. Maximum attention was given for improvement in the cattle quality for milk production only and meat, egg and leather were given less priority. Hence other major component of animal husbandry like sheep, goat, swine (pig farming) and poultry, which are reared by poor SC people were remain untouched by the most of government scheme for their improvement in the quality. Whatever little work has been carried out by some research institutions and agriculture university departments are yet to reach to the people. Thus there is plenty of scope for improving their quality and products and extension.

The SED at its Gramin Vigyan Kendra (GVK) at village Digod in Kota (Rajasthan) has been engaged in promoting rearing of small animals like goat, hen and rabbits. Training programmes are regularly organised at this Kendra for people of lower income groups and weaker sections of the society. The various scientific aspects such as breed improvement, feed development and feeding, housing, pre and post natal care, immunization, better productivity are taken care off during the training.

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