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Animal species/breeds that are most commonly farmed in India

Discuss about the Livestock Production System.

India is an agricultural country and the livestock production in India plays a significant role in the livelihood for the farmers and in the rural economy. Among the total Indian population, 75% are engaged in livestock production or animal husbandry that is a substantial subsidiary to agriculture (Patti et al. 2014)[1]. The animal husbandry plays an important role in the gross domestic product and also in the agricultural gross domestic product in India contributing 24% (Mario et al. 2013)[2]. There are employment opportunities in livestock rearing and production. The cattle and buffalo are reared for milk purposes and goat and sheep for meat, hair or wool and poultry for egg and meat are the main livestock species that are reared in India (William 2012)[3]. The livestock resources in India comprises of the food and non-food items that are provided to the people. The livestock is maintained on agricultural crop products and on grazing.

According to the 2014-15 censuses, India ranked first in the livestock production of buffaloes and cattle followed by cattle and goat production (Gupta et al. 2014)[4]. This vast livestock production plays an important role in meeting the growing needs of the millions of people by providing them food in the form of milk, meat, eggs and clothing in the form of leather and wool. It also provides raw materials for the industry. The agriculture and livestock production are crucial for the food security in India and are intrinsically linked. India is the largest producer of milk in the whole world with a significant increase in the livestock production followed by poultry and wool production. Meat and egg production has also shown a significant growth with 7.78% increase by the end of year 2013.

In India, there are innumerable indigenous and exotic breeds of livestock comprising of cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goat, pig, horses, donkeys and camels that are commonly farmed. Based on breed survey of 2013, the livestock species of cattle and buffalo consists of indigenous and exotic breeds. There are 37 pure cattle breeds comprising of Gir, Sahiwal, Tharparkar, Red Sindhi and Rathi who are reared for milk production and indigenous in nature (Lush 2013)[5]. There are draught breeds like Ongole, Kankrej and Hariana that are also reared for draught and milch qualities (Decker et al. 2014)[6]. The exotic cattle breeds are Jersey and Holstein Friesian that are raised in India. The indigenous buffalo breeds are Murrah, Surti, Bhadawari, Chilika, Jaffrabadi, Kalahandi, Banni, Mehsana, Nagpuri, Toda and Nili Ravi (Medhammar et al. 2012)[7].

Significance and role of livestock production in India

There are around 20 sheep breeds and 40 goats’ breeds that are available in India with and generally named after the place of origin as they comprise of the distinct native characteristics. Hissardale, Nilgiri and Kashmir Merino are the cross- breeds that involve the native as well as exotic mutton breeds (Dixit et al. 2012)[8].  Deccani and Marwari are the most common and important breeds widely distributed in India. The Yak and Mithun are also bred in India. The indigenous goat breeds comprises of Barbari, Attapadi Black, Beetal, Black Bengal, Chegu, Berari, Jakhrana, Malabari, Marwari, Surti, Kutchi, Osmanabadi, Gaddi, Ganjam and many other breeds that are raised in India (Escareño et al. 2012)[9]. The horse breeds comprises of Manipuri, Marwari, Kathiawari, Bhutia, Spiti and Zanskari. The indigenous breeds of the camels comprises of Double Hump, Bikaneri, Jaisalmeri, Jalori, Kutchi, Malvi, Marwari, Mewati and Mewari (Praveen, Jain and Katewa 2013)[10]. The pig comprises of exotic, crossbred and indigenous breeds. The indigenous breeds like Landrace, Yorkshire, Hampshire, Saddleback, Australian Large Black and Duroc (Bernard 2013)[11]. The crossbred pigs and indigenous breeds consist of Ghoongroo and Niang Megha. The poultry breeds that are indigenous in nature are Aseel, Frizzle, Kadaknath and Naked Neck. The above mentioned exotic and indigenous breeds are commonly bred in India.

The livestock production in India plays an important role in the economy of India. It is one of the largest sectors in the world being the cardinal pillar for the country. The animal husbandry is the main source of income for the farmers and around 20.5 million people are dependent on the livestock for livelihood (Jimmy et al. 2013)[12]. It also provided employment to the people and majorly contributes to the gross domestic product. It is the main source of income generation and alleviation of poverty for the farmer and their families by providing them regular income through sale of milk. It is the biggest source of employment for the people who are dependent on agriculture and get milk, eggs and meat to the livestock owners and their families. The bullocks are used by farmers for carting, ploughing and transport of goods. In India, the livestock production promotes gender equity as the share of the women in the livestock sector is 90% as in Punjab and Haryana.

The people are greatly benefitted by the livestock production as it provides foods and other materials to the people of India. Livestock provides food items in the form of milk, meat and eggs for the human consumption. India is the largest producer of milk with 137.7 m tones in the world followed by 8.89 million tonnes of meat every year according to the 2014 report (Mario et al. 2013)[13]. It also provides non-food items like wool, hair, hides, fibres and skins. Leather is a major product that is largely exported outside India and also wool production of 47.9 million annually. The bullocks are used by the farmers for mechanical power being the backbone for Indian agriculture. The animal wastes are used as fertilizers, good manure and as fuel in the form of dung cakes and bio gas. This has major contributions to the agriculture through dung manure and draught power.  The Indian population suffers greatly suffers from malnutrition and the livestock provides food and additional nutritional support through the animal sources. The animal sources provide food products that help to improve nutrition. The import and export of livestock products helps to raise the Indian economy. The meat and its products exported outside India adds to the country’s earning from the animal husbandry. It also provides an economic backbone for the millions of landless farmers, small and marginal farmers (Henning et al. 2013)[14]. It also has cultural significance as it offers economic security to the farmers as moving assets and banks.

Current markets for livestock products in India

A steady increase and sustainable economic growth in the per capita income helps to boost the demand for the animal husbandry products. The direct consumption of the livestock products in the form of milk, eggs, meat, chicken and mutton are greatly limited to the household consumptions with demand productions during the years 2010 and 2020. The livestock products demand has increased for domestic use where the demand for the products is exceeding the supply. The demand projections increased for fresh milk with followed by goat meat, mutton, buffalo meat, chicken and eggs. It is predicted that the demand for fresh milk by the year 2020, will likely to increase by 115.61 millions followed by 4.57 million of goat meat and mutton, 1.00 million buffalo meat, 0.64 million chicken and eggs of 31.47 million (Karen 2014)[15].

The fresh milk is produced with an estimated amount of 86.8 million tonnes that is nearly managed by 70 million Indian farmers making India the largest producer of milk in the world. Moreover, the annual growth counts to 5.6% illustrating 214 grams of milk availability per day (Dwaipayan, and Sharma 2013)[16]. The National Dairy Development Board that organizes dairy production and milk processing and marketing under “Amul” in the cooperative dairy sector. The surplus milk production is achieved by cross breeding the Jersey breeds and Holstein Friesian. India is the fifth largest producer of egg with 8-10% annual growth rate and 12-15% of broilers (Panda et al. 2012)[17]. The poultry production provides employment to 1.5 million people; however, it is lower than the world average recommended per capita of 5.9 kg meat and 124 eggs (Lee et al. 2012)[18]. Recently, the private sector in India has contributed to the production of high quality poultry equipments, breeding stocks, compounded feed and good genetic stocks. This has resulted in a large integration of the broilers where it is supporting the need for meat in the country. However, it is predicted that the gap between the demand and supply will be fulfilled with surplus production of milk, meat, poultry items and eggs by the year 2020.

In an Indian agricultural setting, the livestock production systems fit into the different agro-climatic zones prevailing in the country. The livestock is raised for food, fibres and for labour purposes. There are many livestock production systems that is practiced in India due to its diverse ecologies and subnational statistics. The landless ruminant production system (LLR) uses the ruminant species especially cattle where the feed is introduced from the outside farm system (Kristjanson et al. 2014)[19]. The dairy cattle and buffalo are used for dairy production on a large scale in India. The LLR system encompasses crossing of the specialized breeds that high-producing that are not done specifically for the landless conditions performance (Porter et al. 2014)[20]. The Holstein-Friesian breed is the most important breed that is used for milk production. This largely involves capital and is feed and labour extensive. The arid and semi-arid tropics and subtropics rain-fed system (MRA) is a type of mixed farming system practiced in India (Damron 2013)[21]. It is done in tropical and subtropical regions where the vegetation period is less than 180 days. There is low primary productivity of the land as the rainfall is low. If this constraint is severe, the crops become less important in the system and the livestock take as the main source of income. As the intensity is low, there are multiple livestock roles and there is limited introduction of the improved breeds. There are 14% of goats and sheep and 11% of cattle that are found in the system globally. This system supports large populations as compared to other grazing systems with 51% of the Indian population.

There are also mixed farming systems that are practiced in India. They are sustainable and have complementarities between the livestock and crop production. The mixed crop-livestock system is characterised by heterogeneity in terms of efficiency, species, commercialisation and management practices. The mixed rain fed system is also practiced in India with 37% of mixed irrigation system land and 46% land.  Another important livestock production system is the introduction of exotic germplasm that helps to improve productivity of the indigenous livestock of cows, buffaloes, sheep and poultry. Crossbreeding technology is also practiced in India that has greater commercial benefits.

India is largely trying to meet the increasing demands of the population through livestock production, however, there are constrains and barriers that has a great impact on the production. The main constrains lies in the animal nutrition and health with advancements in breeding and genetic gains (Udmale et al. 2014)[22]. The feeds for the ruminant animals may be constrained due to the competition for land and water and changing environmental conditions like global warming that may pose a threat to find an alternate solution for the ruminant animal feed. Breeding is another constraint where the exotic breeds might not fit into the production system and environment of India (Nikos and Bruinsma 2012)[23]. The high performing breeds might not work in the Indian situations. For example, Holstein Friesian are getting deficit due to energy and heat stress making them unsustainable. The poor nutrition is another barrier where there is a poor and limited feed-fodder resource that includes forage conservation, fibrous crop residues, strategic supplementation and multi-purpose crop use (Oosting, Udo and Viets)[24]. The technology is another constraint where the farmers need to be progressive with advancement in technology. Moreover, the technology advancement that is economically feasible for the different farming systems and takes into consideration the perceptions of the farmers.

India is progressing towards the path of liberalization where the country is trying to fulfil the demands of the expanding population. It is trying to encourage the foreign investments in the filed of technology up gradation, quality and product improvement and in the export business (DeFries et al. 2012)[25]. It is encouraging the banks to take up projects to lending. There are wide opportunities for the livestock production through setting up of schemes that diversify and prepare value added livestock products and processing and marketing of the products according to market demand (Herrero and Thornton 2013)[26]. There are opportunities for research initiatives via collaboration of foreign and local agencies. There is also scope for improvements in the animal health and nutrition through finding of alternate food-feeder solutions (Hayes et al. 2013)[27]. Moreover, there is scope for future improvement in the field of technology for the manufacturing, processing and marketing of the livestock products through the rearing of animals. New technology is required for the advancement in productivity and also a need for sustainable development. The modern biotechnology that creates advancements in animal health, genetics and livestock nutrition system through digital platforms and mobile communication are also important areas for advancement (Boland et al. 2013).

References

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Herrero, Mario, Petr Havlík, Hugo Valin, An Notenbaert, Mariana C. Rufino, Philip K. Thornton, Michael Blümmel, Franz Weiss, Delia Grace, and Michael Obersteiner. "Biomass use, production, feed efficiencies, and greenhouse gas emissions from global livestock systems." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110, no. 52 (2013): 20888-20893.

Lockeretz, William, ed. Agriculture and energy. Elsevier, 2012.

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Decker, Jared E., Stephanie D. McKay, Megan M. Rolf, JaeWoo Kim, Antonio Molina Alcalá, Tad S. Sonstegard, Olivier Hanotte et al. "Worldwide patterns of ancestry, divergence, and admixture in domesticated cattle." PLoS Genet 10, no. 3 (2014): e1004254.

Medhammar, Elinor, Ramani Wijesinha?Bettoni, Barbara Stadlmayr, Emma Nilsson, Ute Ruth Charrondiere, and Barbara Burlingame. "Composition of milk from minor dairy animals and buffalo breeds: a biodiversity perspective." Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 92, no. 3 (2012): 445-474.

Dixit, S. P., N. K. Verma, R. A. K. Aggarwal, M. K. Vyas, Jyoti Rana, and Anurodh Sharma. "Genetic diversity and relationship among Indian goat breeds based on microsatellite markers." Small Ruminant Research 105, no. 1 (2012): 38-45.

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Boland, Mike J., Allan N. Rae, Johan M. Vereijken, Miranda PM Meuwissen, Arnout RH Fischer, Martinus AJS van Boekel, Shane M. Rutherfurd, Harry Gruppen, Paul J. Moughan, and Wouter H. Hendriks. "The future supply of animal-derived protein for human consumption." Trends in Food Science & Technology 29, no. 1 (2013): 62-73.

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