WHY IN NEWS?
- A variety of policy concerns and the ongoing discussion over farm laws have fixed the spotlight on infrastructure investments necessary to boost productivity levels and fill critical gaps in production especially in the Animal Husbandry.
- As the bulk of establishments in this sector is concentrated in rural India, the socio-economic relevance of this sector cannot be overstated.
- Animal husbandry refers to livestock raising and selective breeding. It is the management and care of animals in which the genetic qualities and behavior of animals are further developed for profit.
- A large number of farmers depend upon animal husbandry for their livelihood. It supports the livelihood of almost 55% of the rural population.
- As per the Economic Survey-2021, the contribution of Livestock in total agriculture and allied sector Gross Value Added (at Constant Prices) has increased from 24.32% (2014-15) to 28.63% (2018-19).
- India is the highest livestock owner of the world.
- As per the 20th Livestock Census, the total Livestock population is 535.78 million in the country showing an increase of 4.6% over Livestock Census-2012.
- Animal rearing has multidimensional potential.
- For instance, Operation Flood, launched in 1970, helped dairy farmers direct their own development, increased milk production (“a flood of milk”), augmented rural incomes and ensured reasonable prices for consumers.
- It has contributed significantly to the empowerment of women and has increased their income and role in society.
- It is a major risk mitigation approach for small and marginal farmers, particularly across the rain-fed regions of India.
- It is at the centre of poverty alleviation programs from equity and livelihood standpoints.
- Livestock productivity has been identified as one of the seven sources of income growth by the Inter-Ministerial Committee under the government’s target of doubling farmers’ income by the year 2022.
- Non-availability of superior quality breeding bulls.
- Poor quality of semen produced by many of the laboratories.
- Shortage of fodder resources and ineffective control of animal diseases.
- Absence of field oriented conservation strategy for indigenous breeds.
- Lack of skills and quality services to farmers for improving productivity and improper infrastructure to support the sector.
Government Initiatives to Boost this Sector:
Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF):
- This is the first major fund launched by the government that includes a diverse set of stakeholders such as Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO), private dairy players, individual entrepreneurs, and non-profits within its ambit.
- Launch: June 2020.
- Fund: It has been set up with an outlay of Rs.15,000 crore.
- Aim: To support private investment in Dairy Processing, value addition and cattle feed infrastructure.
- Incentives will be given for establishing plants for export of niche products.
- A niche product is a product targeting a specific section of a larger industry and market. Niche products are often (but not always) more expensive than more generic products.
- It will also support the establishment of animal feed plants of varying capacities – including setting up of mineral mixture plants, silage making units, and animal feed testing laboratory.
National Animal Disease Control Programme:
- It has been launched for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Brucellosis with a total outlay of Rs.13,343 crore to ensure 100% vaccination of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig population.
Rashtriya Gokul Mission:
- To develop and conserve indegenous breeds of bovine population.
- To enhance milk production and to make it more remunerative to the farmers.
National Livestock Mission:
- Launched in the year 2014-15.
- To ensure quantitative and qualitative improvement in livestock production systems and capacity building of all stakeholders.
National Artificial Insemination Programme:
- To suggest novel methods of bringing about impregnation in female breeds.
- To prevent the spread of certain diseases which are genital in nature, thereby enhancing the efficiency of the breed.
- If investments are undertaken in a timely manner, even as the country seeks an exit out of the pandemic-induced economic slowdown, pressure will be reduced across the farm sector with immense benefits for the entire economy.
- Macro benefits regarding climate change and employment are linked to the Animal Husbandry sector and enhanced infrastructure can make processing units more energy-efficient and help mitigate their carbon footprint.