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The Bedrock of Rural Livelihood - Animal Husbandry in India

India, with its agrarian roots, has always harboured a symbiotic relationship with animal husbandry. The rural scapes resonate with the bustling activities of poultry farms, cattle sheds, and goat rearing units.

This sector not only provides livelihood to millions but also promises a pathway to economic self-sufficiency. Through the lens of poultry, goat and cattle rearing, let’s delve into the myriad facets of animal husbandry in rural India.

Significance of Animal Husbandry

Animal husbandry acts as a linchpin in sustaining the rural economy. A significant chunk of the rural populace relies on it for their livelihood, nutrition, and even social standing. The symbiotic relationship between agriculture and animal husbandry further accentuates its importance.

Income Generation: Livestock contributes to 16% of the income of small farm households as opposed to merely 4% for larger farm households and engages about 9% of the total workforce in India.

Photo by Manoj Kulkarni on Unsplash

The Economic Imprint

GDP Contribution:

Animal husbandry contributes significantly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of India. As per the Economic Survey 2019-2020, the livestock sector alone contributed nearly 4.2% to the total GDP, painting a picture of its undeniable economic relevance.

Employment Generator:

The sector is a major source of employment in rural India. According to the 20th Livestock Census, around 20.6 million people are engaged in various activities related to animal husbandry, a testament to its role as a livelihood sustainer.

Sustenance and Beyond:

Nutritional Security:

Animal husbandry plays a pivotal role in ensuring nutritional security. The provision of milk, meat, and eggs significantly improves the nutritional intake of rural households, battling malnutrition.

Socio-cultural Significance:

Livestock rearing is deeply ingrained in the socio-cultural fabric of rural India. It symbolises a sense of security and social status among rural communities.

Insurance Against Crop Failure:

In the face of fluctuating agricultural outputs, livestock serves as a buffer, providing a steady income and insurance against crop failure. India's vast geographic expanse influences the types of animal husbandry practised in different regions:

Northern India: Dominated by dairy farming, states like Punjab and Haryana lead in milk production.

Southern India: Poultry farming has a significant foothold in states like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Broiler chickens are especially popular.

Western India: States like Gujarat and Rajasthan are known for camel herding, which is not only culturally significant but also economically beneficial.

Eastern and Northeastern India: Goat and pig rearing are more common, contributing to both meat production and local rituals. The Rang De Intervention Our approach isn't just about providing financial support; it's about fostering sustainable livelihoods.Rang De collaborates with SHGs and local NGOs to provide low-cost, accessible loans to small farmers and herders.

Some of our significant partners that promote animal husbandry are Maitree Mahila Mandal Samiti, Ghoomar Mahila Samiti and Manjari Foundation. By removing financial barriers, we enable individuals to invest in better breeds, quality fodder and veterinary care. The Road Ahead:

The government's initiatives, like the National Livestock Mission, aim at sustainable development of the livestock sector. Moreover, with the advent of modern technology, there's a window to elevate the traditional practices of animal husbandry to meet the rising demand while ensuring the welfare of the animals and the environment.

Technology Adoption

Technological advancements like Artificial Insemination (AI), veterinary telemedicine, and digital record-keeping are slowly finding their way into the rural animal husbandry landscape. These technologies, albeit nascent, hold the promise of transforming the sector.

Sustainability and Environmental Impact

Animal husbandry, when practiced sustainably, can significantly reduce its environmental footprint. Implementing practices like rotational grazing, integrated farming, and organic waste recycling can pave the way for a more sustainable animal husbandry sector.

The animal husbandry sector, with its untapped potential, beckons a brighter economic horizon for rural India. As we tread the path of modernization, integrating traditional wisdom with modern technology, the promise of a prosperous rural economy shines brighter.

To Invest in rural entrepreneurs and boost livestock farming visit

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1 Comment

Meenal Mamdani
Meenal Mamdani
Oct 31, 2023

Another informative post, Mr Seemon, thank you.

We also need large animal veterinarians and India has a lot of home grown remedies that should be studied scientifically.

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