Cattle play a vital role in the rural economy. It supplements the income of rural households, particularly, the landless and small and marginal farmers.
It also provides subsidiary occupation in semi-urban areas and more so for people living in hilly, tribal and drought-prone areas where crop output may not sustain the family.
Animal husbandry output constitutes about 24 per cent of the country’s agricultural output. India’s cattle wealth is in U.E, M.P, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Orissa, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. These states support, nearly 85% cattle of India. Cattle are for milk, drought and dual purpose.
Red Sindhi, Gir, Sahiwal, Deoni.
Bachaur, Nagori, Mahvi, Khairgarh, Hallikar, Bargur, Banwar Siri etc.
Dual Purpose Breeds:
Haryanvi, Kankrej, Mewati, Nimari, Daugi, Galao, Ongole etc.
India is endowed with the largest livestock population in the world. She accounts for 57 per cent of the world’s buffalo population and 15 per cent of the cattle population.
According to the Livestock Census (1992), the country has about 20.5 crore cattle and 8-4 crore buffaloes as compared to 15.5 crore cattle and 4.3 crore buffaloes in 1951. Thus die population of buffaloes has almost doubled since independence. The population of poultry birds has also increased about fourfold since 1951.
India has 27 indigenous breeds of cattle and seven breeds of buffaloes. India’s cattle are resistant to tropical diseases like tick-born and protozoan infections. Various Central and Centrally-sponsored schemes arc being implemented for genetic improvement of cattle and buffaloes.
As a result of various measures taken by the Government, milk production in the country has been 6 8-3 million tonnes at the end of Eighth Plan (1996-97) as compared to 17 million tonnes in 1950-51. India’s milk output during 1998-99 is estimated to be 74.7 million tonnes.
The seven Central cattle breeding farms at Suratgarh (Rajasthan), Chiplima and Semiliguda (Orissa), Dhamrod (Gujarat), Hessarghatta (Karnataka), Alamadi (Tamil Nadu) and Andeshnagar (Uttar Pradesh) are engaged in scientific breeding programmes of cattle and buffaloes. Co-operatives have played a signal role in dairy development in the country.
The Operation Flood Programme, which was the world’s largest integrated dairy development programme, has made considerable progress in achieving its outlined objectives. The programme has since completed its phase III in April 1996. By March 2000 about 84,289 dairy cooperative societies were organized involving over 10.61 million farmer members.
The poultry production in the country has made significant progress over the years due to research both in the government and private sector. Egg production has increased 31-5 billion during 1999-2000 as compared to 10 billion during 1980- 81. Currently India ranks fifth in egg production in the world.
Central poultry breeding farms at Mumbai, Bhubaneswar, Hessarghatta and Chandigarh are engaged in scientific poultry breeding programme; and have developed high egg producing hybrid and fast growing broiler.
Central Duck Breeding Farm at Hessarghatta is catering to the need of high egg producing Khaki campbell breeding stock and fast-growing meat type ducklings to various States/Union Territories. Four random sample poultry performance testing centres are at Bangalore, Mumbai, Bhubaneswar and Gurgaon conduct egg-laying and broiler tests and provide useful information to poultry farmers, hatcheries and breeding organizations.
Central Poultry Training Institute at Hessarghatta is imparting short-term practical courses in different disciplines of poultry. Regional Feed Analytical Laboratories at Chandigarh, Mumbai and Bhubaneswar provide feed analysis facilities to farmers. A new scheme for developing backyard poultry for small farmers has been introduced in the North Eastern states including Sikkim.