Livestock economics – Paradigm shift in Indian agriculture!
It might seem improbable to the followers of Indian economy but it is the new reality – Economic contribution of livestock is today more than that of foodgrain crops. Traditionally, between the 3 pillars of Indian economy – crops, livestock and fisheries; crops were considered the drivers of rural economy. As a result, government policies and programs focused on crops. The upstaging of crops by the livestock monetary value was first detected in 2002-03. At this time, it was considered an annual agricultural aberration as a result of a poor agricultural performance. But, then this pattern of growth has maintained its momentum and the last decade has seen a consistent performance by the Indian livestock sector – contributing 5-13% more than the foodgrain crops. The planning commission reports have officially confirmed that both the livestock and fisheries segment have been growing faster than the crops in the last decade.
Livestock’s place in the Indian economy…
- As of now, livestock contributes more than 25% to the agricultural gross domestic product
- In 2010-11, livestock generated Rs. 3,40,500 crores
- This was 28% of the agricultural GDP and 5% of the country’s GDP
- The total output from livestock was higher than the combined output of foodgrains (Rs, 3,15,000 crores) & fruits and vegetables (Rs. 2,08,800 crore)
- In 2009-10, livestock was 2.5 times the value of paddy and more than 3 times the value of wheat
- Rural poverty is marginal in areas where livestock contributes to the agriculture in a greater way
The untapped potential…
India’s livestock productivity is 20-60% lower than the global average, which signals a near absence of policy emphasis and a lack of program structure for the segment. Some of the major factors contributing to the declining livestock growth and below-par performance of the sector are – continued scarcity of feed and fodder, inadequate breeding and reproduction, absence of health care management for the Indian livestock.
In terms of budget allocation, livestock sector receives only 12% of the total public expenditure (whereas the contribution is almost 30% of the agricultural GDP) and 4-5% of the total institutional credit flow into the sector – with only 6% of the livestock being insured. The production has been sliding because of the complete apathy in the adoption of livestock technologies. The proposed ‘Indian council of Veterinary and Animal Science Education and Research’ is yet to take off even after repeated recommendations during the 11th and 12th Plan.
As we have discussed repeatedly in this blog, the Indian policies and programs are avenues for the fund diversion to the fat bureaucratic-political-business nexus. What trickles down to the common man is insignificant – in the backdrop of the skyrocketing population and inflation rate.