Livestock helps to improve food production and provide nutritional security. It generates income, employment and acts as a cushion against crop failure. It provides draught power and manure inputs to raise the crop. It also contributes to foreign exchange through the export of animal products. Out of total land holding 30 per cent is held by small and marginal farmers. They manage 80 per cent of total livestock in the country. Livestock production is more impressive than food grain production. The activity of livestock production is largely confined to the rural sector. Land, labour, capital and organization are the basic resources available in the rural sector. These four factors of livestock production are roped-in proportionately to augment the production of finished goods; namely milk, meat, pork, wool and multifarious products of commercial importance. Nutritional deficiencies problem is common among the poor. Protein deficient diet based on cereals and pulses needs to be supplemented by animal-based protein sources for which dairy based products are well known.
Dairying plays a vital role in the country’s agricultural economy, which being the second largest contributor to the gross agricultural produce and leading milk producer with 18.5% of world production. The age-old format of conventional dairy management is being transformed into a more meaningful and scientific form, based on improved breeding, feeding, housing and health cover practices. India has the largest cattle population in the world (210million). In India, the average size of the farm has been declining and over 80 million out of 105 million operational holdings are below the size of one hectare and pose a serious problem in general. The farmers particularly the small farmers are unable to meet both ends with the income from cropping alone. The situation is further weakened due to repeated failure of monsoon on one side and on the other side, due to ever increasing population and decline in per capita availability of land. (To be contd)