Growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of about four per cent, the total livestock population in India is likely to reach about 312 million by 2015. The total livestock population in India is currently about 280 million according to a sector specific comprehensive analysis of 'Livestock, animal feed and fodder' by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).
Cattles constitute a share of about 60 per cent in India’s total livestock population followed by buffaloes (32 per cent), goats (four per cent) and sheep (two per cent). Pigs, horses, ponies, mules, donkeys, camel, yaks, mithun other varieties together account for the remaining livestock population across India. There are about 170 million cattle, over 80 million buffaloes, 11 million goats and over five million sheep in India.
Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh alone account for about 35 per cent of India’s total livestock population. Bihar, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal are other states with significant livestock population.
While Maharashtra ranks first in indigenous cow population (3.8 million) followed by Madhya Pradesh (3.7 million). Uttar Pradesh has maximum number of buffaloes (8.6 million) followed by Andhra Pradesh (5.2 million). Rajasthan has maximum goat population followed by Bihar.
“Rapidly growing human population has resulted in an upward spiralling trend in demand and consumption of milk products, meat, eggs, skin, leather, fibre and even wool not just in India but globally,” said D.S. Rawat, national secretary general of Assocham while releasing the findings of the chamber’s analysis. “An increase in number of livestock is also led by genetically upgraded animals.”
“Animal production is an integral part of agricultural sector and plays a significant role in income and employment generation, equity, foreign exchange earning and for developing a sustainable agricultural system,” said Mr Rawat. “Livestock accounts for about 30 per cent of entire output from agri sector.”
“Looking at this enormous demand for livestock products, there is an urgent need to improve health and productivity of the farm animals and steps must be taken to improve the quality of fodder and feed,” said the Secretary General.
India is facing huge shortage to the extent of about 60 per cent of feed and fodder for livestock population mainly due to overgrazing in the limited area under fodder crops, poor availability of good quality fodder varieties – green fodder, dry crop residue, feeds, dry fodder, agricultural by-products and others. Besides, lack of quality seeds of improved varieties and hybrids is also a significant issue in this regard. The annual domestic demand for compound feed in India is growing at about 25 per cent CAGR and is at about 70 million tonnes currently.
“There is a need to improve the productivity of grazing and pasture lands, enhancing the supply of quality seeds, promoting production of fodder crops, implementing technology to preserve post-harvest fodder and other such steps must be immediately taken to curb the grave problem of malnourishment amid animals,” said Mr Rawat. “Besides, diseases due to lack of health and hygiene maintenance are also affecting the production potential of livestock.”
Assocham has suggested for providing proper information and knowledge, services and support to carry out agri research, education and extension to livestock farmers to enable them for better decision-making to achieve rapid growth. A high growth in livestock sector can be sustained by developing value chains, market infrastructure, quality and safety mechanisms thereby making the livestock rearing profitable, recommended the industry body.
India imports about 2.5 lakh tonnes of residues and waste from food industry like flour meals, molasses, residue of starch, oil-cake, vegetables etc worth over Rs 1,000 million. While, India exports about 50 lakh tonnes of animal fodder worth over Rs 80,000 million.