The livestock sub sector has emerged as one of the key components of agricultural growth in developing countries in recent years.The Indian livestock system is the endeavor of small holders and it is a centuries old tradition. As a result of gradual transition from subsistence to market system, the economic dimensions of livestock keeping have assumed increasing significance in household behaviour. Over 70 percentage of the rural households in India depend on livestock farming for supplementary income. The sector is highly gender sensitive and over 90 per cent of activities related to care and management of livestock are carried out by family’s women folk.
However, employment has been going down as in the case of agriculture sector as a whole. As per NSS reports of the sectoral growth in employment at all India level,
In Kerala majority of livestock owning farmers are either small and marginal or even landless. In view of its suitability for combining with crop sub sector and sustainability as a household enterprise with the active involvement of women, it is emerging as a very popular supplementary avocation in the small farms.
Artificial insemination centers
Regarding breeding support, there are 3002 artificial insemination centers out of which:
The embryo transfer technology introduced in the recent past is yet another step towards livestock development. Of the total adult female cattle population in the State 83.4 per cent is cross bred and if the cattle in milk is taken into consideration, it will increase to 85 per cent and this was made possible by the Indo-Swiss Project and the expanded health care facilities and veterinary services.
Though livestock sub sector makes significant contribution to the State’s economy, it is facing serious constraints due to inadequate fodder base as a result of sharp and continuous decline in the area under livestock-supporting seasonal crops especially paddy and the limited scope for fodder cultivation in the State. The biggest challenge faced by the State in the livestock sector is the threat of foot and mouth disease because of large-scale inflow of cattle from the adjoining states.
Tenth Plan strategy of Kerala is framed in consonance with the national strategy with due adaptation to the Kerala context giving due importance for the following:
Trend in Livestock Population
As per the report of FAO, the World’s livestock population in 2000 comprised of:
An analysis of the figures from 1990 to 2000 reveals that over the period a continuous declining trend was noticed in sheep population alone. Over 1992, the worlds’ cattle population increased by 5.36 per cent during 2000. During the same period buffalo population increased by 11.86 per cent, goat population by 24 per cent and pig by 5.01 per cent and sheep population declined by 6.66 per cent.
As per the provisional figures of 2003 livestock census India has 187.38 million cattle which is about 15 per cent of the world cattle population. Out of the 187.38 million cattle, 22.63 million were crossbred, which is 12.07 per cent of the total cattle population. Between 1997 and 2003, crossbred population increased by 12.6 per cent. The states of Tamilnadu, Maharashtra, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Punjab account for about 60 per cent of the crossbred cattle population. The country has 96.62 million buffalo population, which is about 56 per cent of the world buffalo population. Between 1997 and 2003, the buffalo population increased by 7.5 per cent. In spite of India’s position as highest producer of milk, productivity per animal is very poor. It is only 987 Kgs / lactation as compared to the world average of 2038 Kgs/lactation. This is mainly due to poor level of nutrition as well as low genetic potential for milk production and health care.
The trend in livestock population of India and Kerala has been examined on the basis of quinquennial livestock Census data. All types of livestock have been showing a declining trend in Kerala after 1996, while in India (1992 on wards) cattle population alone is declining. This may be due to the preference of people for high yielding cross bred varieties. To add to the remarkable status India has in the world cattle and buffalo population there are 181.88 million small ruminants in the country in 2003 consisting of 61.78 million sheep and 120.10 million goats. In terms of population, India ranks second in world in goats and third in sheep. More than 70 per cent of them are reared by small/marginal farmers and landless labourers. Contribution of sub sector to the economy is estimated at Rs.2400 Crores per annum. The pig population increased from 13.29 million in 1997 to 14.14 million in 2002-03 with an annual growth rate of 1.25 per cent and during 1951-2003 period it increased from 4.40 million to 14.14 million registering a growth of 219 per cent.
In Kerala, nearly 94 per cent of the livestock population is concentrated in rural areas, 80 per cent of the livestock farmers are marginal farmers and agricultural labourers. Women constitute 60 per cent of the workforce in this sector. Most of the cattle holdings are one cow farms. Nearly 65 per cent of the meat required is met from animals of neighbouring States.
The last two Census periods witnessed a drastic decline in the livestock and poultry population in the State.
It is assumed that the factors attributed to the decline are scarcity of cheap and quality fodder, rapid increase in the price of feed and feed ingredients, inflow of cheap and low quality livestock products from neighbouring states, indiscriminate slaughter of animals, under exploitation of production potential of animals, non availability of good germplasm and threat from contagious diseases like FMD etc.
As per 2003 figures, Kerala’s share in all India cattle population is 1.13 per cent. Buffalo population accounts only for 0.07 per cent, goats 1.01 per cent and pigs 0.54 per cent.
Livestock and Poultry Population in Kerala during last 3 Census (Lakh Nos)
According to 2003 livestock census figures the cattle population in the State was 21.22 lakhs of which 17.35 lakhs were crossbred (ie . 81.8% of the total cattle population).
Concerted efforts are to be undertaken for implementing buffalo development programme. KLD Board has been producing frozen buffalo semen and the same is made available through A1 units for artificial insemination. Goat population is also on the decline mainly due to indiscriminate slaughter, shrinking of grazing lands and urbanisation.
Even though some efforts were made by KLD board and MPI to foster swine industry, it could not attain any fruitful results.
Weak Feed and Fodder Base
Most of the reports regarding the availability of fodder in the country project an alarming gap between demand and supply. The National Commission on Agriculture (1976) estimated the demand of fodder in the country for the year 2000 AD at 256.8 million ton dry fodder and 575 million ton green fodder. The future scenario of demand and supply position as shown in Tenth Plan Working Group Report of the Planning Commission on Animal Husbandry and dairying reveals a huge deficit in green fodder in the country. The available fodder can meet the demand of only 46.7 percent of the total livestock. The deficit in 2000 in green and dry fodder in the country was 61.10 per cent and 21.93 per cent respectively.