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20th Livestock Census

20th Livestock Census

Tag: GS 3 || Economy || Agriculture || Animal Husbandry

Why In News?

  • Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying has released the 20th Livestock Census report recently.
  • The release provides key results reflecting the aggregate counts of various species as well as its comparison with the previous census.

Key Points

  • The total Livestock population is 535.78 million in the country showing an increase of 6% over Livestock Census-2012.
  • West Bengal observed the highest increase of 23%, followed by Telangana (22%).
  • The total number of cattle in the country has shown an increase of 0.8 %.
  • The increase is mainly driven by a sharp increase in cross-bred cattle and higher female indigenous cattle population.
  • Uttar Pradesh has observed a maximum decrease in cattle population though the state has taken several steps to save cattle.
  • West Bengal has seen the highest rise of 15% in cattle population.
  • The population of the total exotic/crossbred cattle has increased by 27%.
  • Cross-bred animals contributed around 28% to India’s total milk production in 2018-19.
  • The milch population of exotic and crossbred cattle such as Jersey or Holsteins shows higher milk yields and thus farmers prefer animals yielding more milk.
  • A decline of 6% in the total indigenous cattle population has been observed.
  • India’s indigenous cattle numbers continue to decline, notwithstanding the government’s efforts to promote conservation of desi breeds through the Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM).
  • The sharpest fall has been observed in the states (Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, etc.) with tough cow slaughter laws.
  • The total milch animals have shown an increase of 6%.
  • Due to higher yields, foreign breeds constitute more than half the population of milch animals.
  • The more the number of animals that produce milk, the more would be pressure on land and fiercer would be competition between man and animals for survival.
  • The figures show that nearly 75% of total cattle in the country are female (cows)– a clear sign of dairy farmers’ preferences for milk-producing cattle. This also gained momentum in the past couple of years due to the government’s assistance in terms of providing sex-sorted artificial insemination (AI), with semen of high-yielding bulls, free of cost at farmers’ doorstep.
  • The backyard poultry has increased by around 46%.
  • The sharp increase in backyard poultry is a significant change in the rural landscape which shows a sign of poverty alleviation.
  • Total Bovine population (Cattle, Buffalo, Mithun and Yak) has shown an increase of about 1%.
  • The population of sheep, goat and Mithun grew in double digits while the count of horses and ponies, pigs, camels, donkeys, mules and yaks declined.

The Livestock Census

  • The Livestock Census has been conducted in the country periodically since 1919-20. Since then it has been conducted once every 5 years.
  • It covers all domesticated animals and their headcounts.
  • So far 19 such censuses have been conducted by the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, in participation with State Governments and UT Administrations.
  • The household-level data through online transmission from the field has been used for the first time in 20th Livestock Census.
  • The census is beneficial not just for policymakers but also for agriculturists, traders, entrepreneurs, dairying industry and masses in general.

Significance of livestock in poverty alleviation:

  • Livestock rearing is a key livelihood and risk mitigation strategy for small and marginal farmers, particularly across the rain-fed regions of India.
  • Share in agricultural gdp: Livestock products comprised 32 percent of the total value of agriculture and allied activities in 2006-07 which was a noticeable increase from 27 percent in 1999-2000 and from 1980-81 when it represented 14 percent of the agricultural gross domestic product.

What are the population trends for different kinds of cattle?

  • While the overall cattle population has increased by 0.8 percent between 2012-19, the population of indigenous cattle has come down by 6 percent — from 151 million to 142.11 million.
  • However, this pace of decline is much slower than the 9 percent decline between 2007 and 2012.
  • In contrast, the population of the total exotic/crossbred cattle has increased by almost 27 percent to 50.42 million in 2019.

How do the data show an eastward shift of cattle, as mentioned earlier?

  • West Bengal has emerged as the state with the largest number of cattle in 2019 followed by Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh.
  • In 2012, Uttar Pradesh had the largest number of cattle but this population has come down by almost 4 percent since.
  • The cattle population is also down in Madhya Pradesh (4.42%), Maharashtra (10.07%) and Odisha (15.01%).
  • States that registered the maximum increases between 2012 and 2019 were West Bengal (15.18%), Bihar (25.18%) and Jharkhand (28.16%).

Way Forward

  • This explains why the population of major milch animals is steady or on the rise while that of the draught animals is plummeting.
  • The best way to popularise the pure-bred indigenous cows would be to boost their inherent milk yield.
  • This could be taken up through selective breeding without altering their typical genetic makeup, which is adapted to local conditions.
  • The policies concerning the movement and marketing of cows also need to be revisited for the benefit of the cattle owners and the overall livestock

Additional Info

 Mains  Question

The recently released 20th Livestock Census report census shows that the Centre’s drive to increase indigenous breeds of cattle seems to have had little impact among cattle kept for dairy purposes, in the backdrop of it analyse the success of such missions and suggest ways for improvement.