Alternative Sources of Income for Farmers
Livestock sector is an important sub-sector of the agriculture of Indian economy as it forms an important livelihood activity for most of the farmers especially having marginal, small & semi-medium operation holdings and support agriculture in the form of critical inputs. It contributes to the health and nutrition of the household, supplement incomes, offering employment opportunities. Hence, this sector is an important and crucial sector of the economy, having tremendous contribution close to one third of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for agriculture and allied sectors. Keeping the importance of this sector in mind, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (DAHDF) is continuously making efforts to develop this sector.
India is a global leader amongst dairying nations and produced 155.49 million tonnes of milk in the year 2015-16 valued at more than Rs 4.92 lakh crore. During last two years milk production has increased by 6.3% against the average increase of 4% between 2012-13 and 2013-14.
The dairy cooperatives of the country have the singular distinction of providing seventy five percent of their sales, on the average, to the farmers. In the process of transforming the unorganized dairy sector of rural India to an organized one 5546 Thousand Litre Per day (TLPD) milk processing capacity was strengthened, 9882 TLPD additional milk chilling capacity created, 46203 dairy cooperative societies constituted. An amount of Rs.1034.63 crore subsidies were disbursed to generate self-employment opportunity in dairy sector.
For enhancing production and productivity, DAHDF released Rs.50 crore for establishment of two National Kamdhenu Breeding Centres in South and North. Funds have also been approved for the establishment of 14 Gokul Grams and strengthening 41 bull mother farms for indigenous breeds. For the first time in the country, the department has launched an e-platform “E-pashuhaat” for sale and purchase of quality germplasm and to provide breed-wise information of indigenous breeds which will reduce the role of middleman and provide direct benefits to farmers.
In order to motivate farmers for rearing of indigenous breeds and increasing population of indigenous breeds along with their production and productivity following awards are instituted under the Rashtriya Gokul Mission at National level: (i) “Gopal Ratna’ Awards: to farmers maintaining the best herd of indigenous breed(s) and practicing best management practices and (ii) ‘Kamadhenu’ Awards: to best managed indigenous herd by Institutions/ Trusts/ NGOs/ Gaushalas or best managed Breeders’ Societies.
Funds to the tune of Rs 14.29 crores under National Mission on Bovine Productivity have been released to 17 States including NER States for issue of Nakul Swasthya Patra and for identification of animal in milk using UID and uploading information on national data base INAPH. In order to meet the shortage of trained veterinary manpower, intake of students in various veterinary colleges was enhanced from 60 to 100 seats. Total number of seats has been increased to 1,334 from 914 in 17 veterinary colleges and B.VSc. & AH qualification of 10 more veterinary colleges has been recognized. 1335.21 million vaccinations have been carried out during the last three years to prevent diseases like Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), PPR, Brucellosis etc. Based on the effective implementation of FMD control programme, three zones have been established as FMD free zones with vaccination as per OIE guidelines.
During the last three years, 12.07 lakh animals have been insured. For better fodder production 5466 Qtls seeds and 8122 chaff cutters have been distributed. The poultry population in the country is around 729.21 million. The egg production has been registered an annual growth of 5.66% and the poultry meat production increased from 3.04 to 3.26 million tonnes during the 2015-16. Department has supported 30 State sheep, goat and piggery breeding farms.
Fisheries and Aquaculture sector mainly focuses on the production of table fish. Consequently, the major funding, both in the Government & private sector, is aimed at increasing the production and productivity of fish. Department is providing benefits to 4.90 lakh fishers under saving-cum-relief, 9080 fishers through motorization of 1816 traditional crafts, 78464 farmers through supply of 9808 safety kits/equipments, insurance to 48.65 lakh fishers. The unit cost of fishermen house has been enhanced from Rs.0.75 lakh to Rs.1.20 lakh and Rs.1.30 lakh in all states and North East respectively. 15000 hectares area has been developed for aquaculture farmers.
Recognizing the potential and scope of ornamental fisheries, the government has envisaged a program to unlock the country’s ornamental fisheries sector through a special drive by launching a pilot scheme for the development of ornamental fisheries with a total outlay of Rs. 61.89 crore.
Implementation of the pilot-scale Ornamental Fisheries Project focuses mainly on creating an enabling environment for a sustainable and holistic development of ornamental fisheries for the socio-economic development of the people involved in this activity as well as for exports.
(The author is the Joint Secretary, DAHDF. Views expressed are personal)