Livestock sector plays a multi-faceted role in the socio-economic development of the national economy. Animal husbandry supports more than two-thirds of Indian rural population and contributes an estimated 27% to the Indian agricultural GDP.
The Indian livestock industry also makes up for a significant amount of world’s livestock resources. India is the largest producer of milk, accounting for 17% of the total milk in the world. In 2012, India became the largest exporter of beef in the world. However, despite its significant contribution to the economy, the productivity of the sector has remained low. Challenges such as declining area under fodder crops, lack of technology and awareness among farmers is hampering the sector’s progress.
Outlay and Expenditure challenges
A recent study revealed that the value of output from the Livestock sector (INR 5265 billion) is about 26% the value of output from the Agriculture sector (INR 20440 billion). However, the 12th five-year plan (2012-2017) by the Ministry of Agriculture presents an inconsistent picture in terms of allocation of money under different schemes in Animal Husbandry and Dairy sector. Out of INR 1,11,232 crores sanctioned for Agriculture and Allied activities, only 12.7% of the total expenditure was allotted to Department of Animal Husbandry and Fishing sector (DAHDF). In addition, an under-utilisation of the outlay was witnessed for most of the initiatives, including government schemes. In 2014-15, the DAHDF, received only 8.7% of the total expenditure sanctioned for agriculture and allied activities.
To counter the challenges faced by the Indian livestock industry, the government needs to channelise the output from the allocated amount to the sector. However, during the 12th five-year plan, the budget estimates rose, while actual expenditure numbers didn’t justify these allocations. With a shortfall so significant between outlay and expenditure, it is imperative for the government to revise the outlay to the sector.
Predominantly, it is essential for the government to encourage private sector investments in the livestock sector. Many agro-based companies are investing in the sector, realising its untapped potential and value.
Thoughts to take away:
The full potential of this sector can only be analysed by stimulating a public-private partnership model. Other factors such as proper awareness, storage facilities and education to farmers need to be addressed for the new global emerging livestock market.