An overview of Bovine breeding Sector in India
The livestock sector has emerged as a vital sector for ensuring a more inclusive and sustainable agriculture system. Evidence from the National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO) 70th round survey showed that more than one-fifth (23 per cent) of agricultural households with very small parcels of land (less than 0.01 hectare) reported livestock as their principal source of income. Farming households with some cattle head are better able to withstand distress due to extreme weather conditions.
Growing population, changing lifestyles, expanding urbanization and accelerated climate changes are creating new challenges in Bovine breeding systems. In the past, the challenge was to ample feed, but now it is to provide essential nutrients to promote health especially reproductive health; and in the future, the challenge would be to provide optimal nutrients based on an animal’s genetic profile and productivity. Fortunately, along with challenges, the developments in science are creating new avenues for tackling the challenges.
Further, biodiversity of livestock, which is so crucial for sustaining long-term productivity, is also under jeopardy. The genetically uniform systems are vulnerable to external shocks under extreme weather conditions, emerging diseases and pathogens. In livestock sector, due to continued focus on exotic germplasm based cross breeding, the number of indigenous breeds with better adaptability, disease-resistance and feed efficiency ratio is declining. The situation is made worse by unregulated blood levels in the crossbred progeny, in attempts to increase milk yield indiscriminately. Hence it is the need of the hour to conserve and improve the productivity of Indian indigenous breeds. For accomplishing this task, the department is now therefore focusing on 100 percent Artificial Insemination coverage along with the application of advanced cutting-edge reproductive technology developments.
In this context, India is blessed with a huge biodiversity of 41 indigenous cattle breeds and 13 Buffalo breeds which have survived over last hundreds of years in respect of their suitability for specific purposes in the concerned local environment. The Department’s strategy is thus to enhance the average productivity of milk of select breeds from the overall available breed types (e.g. Gir for high milk productivity) from the present level of 4.85 kg per day to 6.77 kg per day per indigenous animal.
As per 19th Livestock census, there are 88 million In-Milk animals whose records are unavailable on an annual basis even. Records of those in breeding stage, their productivity, treatment and vaccination are also not properly maintained by State Animal Husbandry Departments. This is because the system for maintaining records on the above aspects has not yet evolved in complete shape due to lack of prioritisation. Impediments like lack of animal identification and traceability, inability to meet sanitary and phyto sanitary conditions also need to be addressed in this connection.
In this context, an initiative has been taken namely, “E- PashuHaat”, the e-market portal for bovine germplasm which provides real time data on availability of high quality germplasm along with identification and traceability of germplasm sold through e-market, connecting breeders, State agencies and stake holders.
Modern technologies like sexing of semen is being taken up to regulate the sex ratio and to produce large number of progenies with one sex. In advanced dairy nations, female sex sorted semen is made available to farmers to produce more number of high genetic merit heifers to increase milk production and profitability of dairy farming. The sex- sorted semen technology will be standardized for indigenous breeds like Sahiwal, Hariana, Red Sindhi, Rathi and Gir during initial phases in the near future.
Further, an initiative has been taken up for establishment of a National Bovine Genomics Centre for Indigenous Breeds (NBGC-IB). The NBGC-IB will pave way for systematic and fast pace improvement of the precious indigenous animal resources using highly precise gene based technology. All these steps promise to give a long term sustainable solution to both livelihood and security of about 70 million farming community of India as well as provide nutritional security to the country.
India ranks first among the world’s milk producing Nations since 1998 and has the largest bovine population in the World. Milk production in India during the period 1950-51 to 2017-18, has increased from 17 million tonnes to 176.4 million tonnes as compared to 165.4 million tonnes during 2016-17 recording a growth of 6.65 %. FAO reported 1.46% increase in world milk Production from 800.2 million tonnes in 2016 to 811.9(Estim) million tonnes in 2017. The per capita availability of milk in the country which was 130 gram per day during 1950-51 has increased to 374 gram per day in 2017-18 as against the world estimated average consumption of 294 grams per day during 2017. This represents sustained growth in the availability of milk and milk products for our growing population.
Dairying has become an important secondary source of income for millions of rural families and has assumed the most important role in providing employment and income generating opportunities particularly for marginal and women farmers. Most of the milk is produced by animals reared by small, marginal farmers and landless labours. Of the total milk production in India, about 48 % milk is either consumed at the producer level or sold to non-producers in the rural area. The balance 52 % of the milk is marketable surplus available for sale to consumers in urban areas. Out of marketable surplus it is estimated that about 40 % of the milk sold is handled by the organized sector ( i.e. 20% each by C-operative & Private Dairies) and the remaining 60 % by the unorganized sector.
About 16.6 million farmers have been brought under the ambit of about 1,85,903 village level Dairy Corporative Societies (DCS) up to March 2018. Despite the slump in world market and better procurement prices by dairy cooperatives along with decrease in procurement volume by major private players led to increase in milk collection by the dairy cooperatives by about 11%. The dairy cooperatives have procured daily average of milk about 475.6 Lakh Kg per day (LKgPD) during 2017-18 as compared to 428.7 lakh kg procured during 2016-17. The sale of liquid milk reached to 349.6 Lakh Liter per day (LLPD) during 2017-18 recording a growth of 6% as compared to 331 LLPD marketed during 2016-17. Women members of the DCS are also being encouraged to assume leadership roles. As on 31.03.2018, the total number of women in dairy cooperatives across the country was 4.9 million in 32,092 women DCS which is 29.5% of total farmers.
Government of India is making efforts for strengthening infrastructure for production of quality milk, procurement, processing and marketing of milk and milk products through following Dairy Development Schemes: