Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture that involves the breeding, raising, and care of animals for the production of food, fiber, and other products. It encompasses a wide range of activities, including dairy farming, poultry farming, and livestock production.
There are many benefits to animal husbandry, including the production of food and other products such as milk, eggs, and meat, as well as the provision of employment and income for farmers and rural communities. Animal husbandry is also an important contributor to the economy and plays a vital role in the global food system.
However, animal husbandry also poses some challenges and ethical concerns. For example, the intensive farming of animals can have negative impacts on animal welfare and the environment, including air and water pollution, as well as the spread of diseases. There are also concerns about the use of antibiotics and other inputs in animal production, which can have negative impacts on human health and the environment.
To address these challenges and ensure the sustainability of animal husbandry, it is important for policymakers and stakeholders to adopt best practices and technologies that improve animal welfare, reduce negative environmental impacts, and enhance the efficiency and productivity of animal production.
This may include the use of precision farming techniques, such as sensors and data analytics, to optimize feeding and breeding practices, as well as the adoption of alternative farming systems, such as organic and free-range, which prioritize animal welfare and sustainability.
It is also important for governments to provide support and resources to farmers and rural communities to enable them to adopt best practices and technologies in animal husbandry.
- It has considerably helped to the empowerment of women and enhanced their income and social standing.
- It is a significant risk reduction strategy for small and marginal farmers, particularly in India’s rain-fed areas.
- It is fundamental to poverty reduction efforts from the perspectives of equality and livelihoods.
- The Inter-Ministerial Committee has recognised livestock productivity as one of seven drivers of income development in accordance with the government’s goal of doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022.
- Lack of availability of bulls of outstanding breeding grade.
- Numerous laboratories generate inferior quality sperm.
- Lack of fodder resources and insufficient livestock illness control.
- Indigenous breeds need a field-oriented conservation plan.
Inadequate infrastructure and a lack of expertise to assist farmers in enhancing their production, as well as inadequate infrastructure to support the sector.
Initiatives by the Government to Promote this Sector:
AHIDF: Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund
- About: This is the government’s first significant fund to incorporate a variety of stakeholders, including Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO), private dairy players, individual entrepreneurs, and non-profit organisations.
- Launch: June 2020.
- It was established with an expenditure of Rs.15,000 billion.
- Support private investment in infrastructure for dairy processing, value addition, and cow feed.
- There will be incentives for the establishment of specialty export factories.
- A niche product is one that targets a specific segment of a wider market and industry. Niche products are frequently (but not always) more costly than mass-market items.
- It will also assist the building of various capacities of animal feed facilities, including mineral mixture plants, silage production units, and an animal feed testing laboratory.
National Disease Control Program for Animals:
- It has been initiated for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Brucellosis with a total expenditure of Rs. 13,343 crore to ensure immunisation of the whole population of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, and pigs.
- Rashtriya Gokul The mission is to produce and preserve indigenous bovine breeds.
- To increase milk output and make it more profitable for farmers.
National Livestock Mission: Established in 2014-2015.
- To ensure the quantitative and qualitative enhancement of livestock production systems, as well as the capacity building of all stakeholders.
National Artificial Insemination Programme:
- To offer innovative strategies for achieving conception in female breeds.
- To limit the spread of some genital-related disorders, hence increasing the breed’s productivity.
The way forward for the animal husbandry sector in India involves making timely investments in order to address the challenges facing the sector and take advantage of its potential benefits. These investments can help to reduce pressure across the farm sector and stimulate the economy, especially as the country recovers from the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic.
By investing in enhanced infrastructure and technology, the animal husbandry sector can improve its efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint, which can have positive impacts on climate change and employment. Overall, making these investments can help to ensure the sustainability and success of the animal husbandry sector in India, while also benefiting the broader economy.