Livestock in Mixed Farming: A leveraging asset for inclusive rural development in India
Over the last few years, structural transformation in the agricultural sector of developing countries has seen the spread of mixed farming with special emphasis on livestock products in particular. The main objective of this article is to highlight the gaps for smallholder livestock producers to gain sustainable livelihood more effectively. The livestock products discussed include milk, eggs and meat. The high-value livestock products for big markets have not been related to the vast majority of smallholders. The rural smallholder livestock producers mainly rely on informal market institutions to trade their products. It is argued that this blazing gap in smallholder livestock farming be addressed by focusing on S&T interventions like Telemedicine, VSAT, and more skill development centers, more number of para-vets and technical people as a part of valuable rural asset management.
Livestock in mixed farming plays a vital role in the economic development and life of farmers in India. In the Asian region, livestock provides major additional contribution to agriculture through draft power, fuel, manure, and as fertilizer. Besides, animal products such as meat, milk and eggs provide the much required nutrition to rural population and are also a source of supplementary cash income. Globally, the livestock sector contributes 30% of the global agricultural output and uses about 80% of the land used for world agriculture (Word Bank, 2001). In the developing world, milk and meat production alone accounts for 26% of the agricultural GDP. The livestock sector has witnessed a phenomenal growth especially in the last decade owing to increased demand for food of animal origin and is often termed as the ‘livestock revolution’ (Chilonda and Otte, 2006). In India, 79% of rural households belong to the small and marginal farmers in terms of land holding (NSSO, 2003). So, in rural India livestock development activity must be undertaken focusing on small and marginal landholders. This year our focus is on livestock development with special preference to cattle and buffalo. Other components of livestock like poultry, piggery will be dealt in subsequent versions of the India S&T report. It is important to mention here that the observations made here are based on indicative data only.
Some key statistics on livestock in India
During the period 1997 to 2003, the total livestock population has decreased by around 14.1%. Among cattle, the population of indigenous breed has decreased by around 7.6% while crossbreed cattle shows an increase of 12.6%. There are only 30 breeds of cattle and 6 breeds of buffalo registered with the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR), Karnal (http://www.nbagr.ernet.in/Accession%20number%20for%20Breeds.htm)
Fig 1: Change in number of different types of livestock during 1997-2003
Source: Livestock Census, 2004 and FICCI presentation
India’s total milk production as in 2004 stood at 97.1 million tones which accounted for 14.9% of the global milk production. Annual growth rate of milk production was 4.11% between 1990-91 and 2000-01. The per capita availability of milk in India is 241 gm/day which is much less than many developed countries like USA (661 gm/day), UK (656 gm/day). The value of consumption of milk and milk products for 30 day period has increased from Rs. 5.29 (1977-78) to Rs 47.60 (2003-04) for rural India. Likewise, the value of meat production from beef has also increased over the years indicating the importance of livestock for rural people (Animal Husbandry Statistics 2006, www.dahd.nic.in/stat_files/BAHS2006%20web%20web.pdf)
Production of Eggs and Milk over the years
Fig 2: Milk and Egg production between 1985-86 and 2006-07 in India
Meat requirement all over the world
Fig 3: Total meat consumption and projected consumption in the year 2020
Source: IFPRI Vision 2020 brief 61
From the above graph we have an idea of projected meat consumption in 2020. For India the consumption reaches 8 million tons in 2020 (just double from 1993). This rate is almost same for the rest of the world. We observed a declining trend of employment in livestock sector from 4.88% in the year 1983 to 3.05% in the year 2000.
Key points to focus on:
- Mapping as well as registration of both hybrid as well as indigenous breeds of different livestock species should be undertaken.
- There should be dedicated germplasm conservation centers for indigenous breeds.
- Steps need to be taken to increase the per capita availability of milk, especially in rural areas.
- The gap may be filled up by the processed milk products like khoa, ghee etc.
- Ensuring the standards of selling milk through regulations.
- Making a data bank of the processed dairy products both for formal and informal sector for future policy makers.
- As meat consumption projected will be huge, we need to focus on the production of the livestock not only cattle or buffalos but also other components of the livestock.
- Declining trend of employment in livestock sector can reduce the GDP growth.
Cattle/Buffalo: capital for the rural people
In general, the small and marginal farmers (approx 79%) in rural India are multi skilled. They usually utilize their time to earn their livelihood through different activities, mostly in an unorganized manner. It may be handicrafts, repairing, manufacturing and seasonal migration to different places to work as daily waged labor etc. This migration to other areas can be reduced to a great extent if livestock mainly cattle and buffalo are utilized for supplementary income generation. Livestock should be promoted as an asset generator as well as banker for small and marginal multi skilled farmers in the rural areas.
These classes of people also use cattle and buffalo for mortgage to get money from moneylenders in case of emergency because no formal banking channel is present to cover the gap. Approximately 79% of the farmers are marginal and small farmers, so it is quite obvious that majority of them might be mortgaging their livestock assets in the same way. But the problem lies in the non-availability of data on these informal transactions.
Fig 4: Percentage of area operated for animal farming in rural India according to land-holding size
Source: NSS Report No.493 Appendix A, Livestock Ownership, 2002- 03
Fig 5: Percentage of area of animal farming for different livestock in rural India
Source: NSS Report No.493 Appendix A, Livestock Ownership, 2002- 03
Key points to focus on:
- Capacity building of rural farmers in livestock development multi-skill training centre.
- Linking of all the training centers across the nation with Central Training Centre through VSAT.
- Use the training centers as marketing channels as well as for resource mobilization.
- Generation and recording of data on livestock in these centers.
Milk and its products and marketing
Milk is an important source of nutrition as well as earning from livestock for rural people. There are two main ways of selling or marketing milk - through co-operatives and informal way. Operation flood has had significant impact on the Dairy Cooperative Network. As on March 2007 it:
- includes 170 milk unions
- operates in over 346 districts
- covers around 1,22,534 village level societies
- has around 12.96 million farmer-members of which 3.4 million are women
But more needs to be done to cover approximately 0.63 million villages under dairy cooperatives because it can boost the income level of the marginal farmers. Everyone is quite familiar with the story of AMUL, which started way back in 1946. But after that no such successful events has reoccurred in Indian dairy sector, especially in marketing. In West Bengal, Assam, Bihar so many efforts were initiated like Janata Dairy, Kamul etc. but they were not successful and some of them are non-existent now. The main reasons for success or failure are administrative handling, cooperative support, quality of product and of course business culture. These reasons make a difference between AMUL’s success story and others’ failure.
The other method of marketing or selling milk is the informal way. A large number of villages around cities, town, and semi urban areas use this method for marketing milk. The inherent problem with this method is that the farmers do not get proper price of their product. For instance, in Orissa, only 5% of the total marketable supply of milk is handled through cooperatives in which the profit margin is 0.22 US$ per kg of raw milk while the informal sellers like local milkman or per-urban farmers could get only about 0.13 US$ per kg.
The quality of the milk sold informally is also of poor quality because these milk traders do not follow any safety standard guidelines or rules. From the nutritional point people consuming this milk are deprived of proper nutrition. Farmers probably get attracted by this informal channel for short term profit due to their unawareness of government schemes. Though this scenario may be prevalent across the nation there is no proper mapping of this informal way of selling of milk for the whole country. Here lies the utility of the multi skill training centre, which would acts as an information kiosk for the community as well as a collection funnel for data needed by the policy planners. Number of Dairy cooperatives registered under the Central Authority is 141 and for private dairies the figure is 103 and for others including mother dairies etc. it is 26 only. But for the state registration authorities the numbers are 105, 390 and 24.
As per MSME Census 2001-02, only 0.15% of the total registered MSMEs are related to dairy products (like manufacturing of ghee, khoa, ice-ream, sweet meats) in rural India. And for unregistered MSMEs, it is approximately 0.7% (sample based survey). So, the number of dairy related MSME is very less compared to other MSMEs. Further, there is no data regarding how much khoa, ghee or dairy related household products are produced everyday through the informal route which is an important indicator of income generation.
Key points to focus on:
- Identification of the gaps between formal and informal marketing channels.
- Using the multi-skill training centers as a marketing channel for milk and its products.
- Formation of dairy specific SHG groups for implementation of the schemes.
- Number of cooperatives is also less. We need to focus on increasing the number of Co-operatives.
Nutritional intake in rural India and Milk
As per NSSO (Report No. 513), the average daily intake of calories by rural population has dropped by 106 kcal over a period of 10 years. In 1993-94 it was 2153 kcal which decreased to 2047 kcal during 2004-05. Simultaneously, the share of food expenditure has dropped by 8.2% and 12.2% in rural and urban areas respectively.
In a recent report published by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) India stands 66th in Global Hunger Index (GHI) out of total 88 countries. The report also pointed out that children under age 5 are mostly suffering from mal nutrition.
Key points to focus on:
- The nutritional intake gap can be narrowed by consuming more milk.
- Increase earning capacity of small and marginal land holders through other livelihood options,
so that the available milk is used for self consumption.
- Production of milk in rural households can serve as a major nutrient source.
Rural transport and Bullock Cart
Since time memorial the bullock cart has been one of the predominant modes of transport in rural India. Around 15 million bullock carts are in use fulfilling two-thirds of rural India’s transportation needs and providing employment to an estimated 20 million people (Ramanujam, 1993). Unlike many other traditional aspects of rural Indian, the bullock cart successfully survived the massive onslaught of technology. So long as our village roads are not improved and made fit for mechanized transport, the role played by bullock carts will continue. Even if the rural roads are improved, bullock cart transportation is going to survive because of its user-friendliness in terms of low investment and non-technical nature of the material. Thus, it is evident that bullock cart is an important source of revenue generation in rural India.
Key point to focus on:
- Increasing efficiency of bullock cart through technological inputs because it is not only cheap and revenue generating but also eco friendly in rural areas.
Death of livestock due to pests and diseases is one of the major concerns for livestock development in India. However, total disease related deaths in cattle are much higher than those in buffaloes. In cattle, Foot and Mouth disease is found to cause maximum deaths while in buffalo highest deaths occurred due to haemorrhagic septicemia in 2004 (Table A in appendix)
Fig 6: Types and number of livestock treatment facilities in India under the Department of Animal Husbandry and others
Figure 6 gives an overview of the types and number of livestock treatment facilities available in India in 2005.
In order to control the death of livestock the Central Government is implementing a Macro-management scheme called “Livestock Health and Disease Control” with an outlay of Rs. 525.00 crores.
The Scheme has the following components:
Key points to focus on:
- Lack of skilled para-vets.
- Introduction of veterinary telemedicine system
- Breeding farms in PPP mode are non-existent. So public private partnership is fully appreciable for developing these breeding farms.
- Livestock in general and cattle and buffalo in particular are an important source of livelihood for rural people. Where the available land is unevenly distributed, the fact that the livestock resources are equitably distributed is a unique feature of rural India. If these resources are managed properly with special emphasis on value addition and integrated market approach, it can bring change in rural economy. We must be careful about the PPP mode i.e. entry of corporate, by ensuring the stake of the small dairy farmers. Then the replication of AMUL in different rural areas may be useful in future.
- Expansion of veterinary services must take place in public sector mode because of low paying capacity of small dairy farmers.
- Downsizing of dairy technology is one of the most sought for technological interventions. TIFAC has laid an example by giving support to Gujrat farmers in downsizing Chilling Plant.
- According to ICMR case studies, Operation Flood – a three phase approach of dairy development in India – was unable to create another success story like AMUL in states other than Gujarat. Main reasons cited are political hindrance, bureaucratic indifference, lack of a professionalism etc. According to Kurien without proper cooperative mode and inclusion of milk producers as Chairman and Board members the effort cannot achieve success.
- Livestock is an asset generator as well as a banker in case of emergency.
- Setting up Multi-skilled Veterinary training centers is a unique way of taking care of the veterinary problems in rural India, including marketing of veterinary by-products.
- Making a national database on dairy byproducts like khoa, ghee, paneer etc. produced by the unorganized sector of dairy product producers can help to standardize these products mainly consumed by the huge middle class.
- ‘Key points to focus on’ mentioned after each sub-section can be considered as measurement yardstick for each focused theme.
- Other facets of livestock like poultry, piggery etc. will be covered in subsequent issues of the India S&T report.
Table A: Livestock death due to diseases in India in 2004
Name of the main disease
Number of Livestock death
Foot and mouth Disease
References and additional readings:
- Chilonda, P and Otte, J, ‘Indicators to monitor trends in livestock production at national, regional and international levels’, Livestock Research for Rural Development 18 (8) 2006
- World Bank Report November 2001, Implication for rural poverty, the environment and global food security, no. 23241
- FICCI (www.ficci.com)
- National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), Government of India (GOI), Livestock Ownership Across Operational Land Holding Classes in India, 2002-03,493(59/18.1/1).
- National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), Government of India (GOI), Nutritional Intake in India, 2004-2005, 513(61/1.0/6).
- Baif Annual Report 2006-07 (http://www.baif.org.in)
- Mathur, Tapesh (Veterinary officer Department of animal husbandry, Government of Rajasthan),‘conservation and improvement of indigenous cattle in Rajasthan state’ (http://www.love4cow.com/conservation_rajasthan.htm)
- National Dairy Development Board (http://www.nddb.org/achievement/ataglance.html)
- Saha Amit, Garcia Otto and Hemme Torsten, “The Economics of Milk Production in Orissa, India,with Particular Emphasis on Small-scale Producers” (http://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/programmes/en/pplpi/docarc/execsumm_wp16.pdf)
- Annual report of BAIF (http://www.baif.org.in/aspx_pages/annual1.pdf)
- Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, Census 2001-02 (Third Census)
- K.N. Ramanujam (1993), “Rural Tranport of India”, ISBN: 81-7099-389-X
- Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics 2006, Govt. of India, Min. of Agriculture (www.dahd.nic.in/stat_files/BAHS2006%20web%20web.pdf)
- Report in Economic Times (http://www.financialexpress.com/news/India-ranks-66th-on-global-hunger-index/373336/)