By Priyanka Saurabh
Along with agriculture, livestock farming, dairy, fisheries activities are an integral part of human life since the beginning of civilization. These activities improved the food system and helped in saving livestock. Due to climate and topography, the animal husbandry, dairy, and fisheries sector have played a major socio-economic role in India’s growth. India’s livestock and fisheries sector are quite wide. Overall, about 32% of the people live on livestock, fishing, and aquaculture. Agriculture is 5% of GDP and national GDP. Livestock and fish products together contribute more than Rs 7 lakh crore towards agricultural production value. The average annual growth rate of the livestock and fisheries sector together is 6. The share of crops in the value of agricultural production is declining, but livestock and fish products are one of the fastest upwards.
The development of entrepreneurship in the field of livestock and fisheries has proved to be a changer for the rural economy. Livestock has contributed 16% to the income of small farm families. Livestock provides livelihood to two-thirds of the rural community. It also provides employment to about 8.8% of the population in India. It provides self-employment to millions of people, especially rural people. It has contributed significantly to the empowerment of women, increasing their income and role in society. It has become a boon for small and marginal farmers, especially in rainfed areas of India. With the view of livelihood at the center of poverty alleviation programs, this region can become Brahmastra. A study by a food and agriculture organization has shown that investing one rupee in the livestock sector can lead to a profit of four rupees. It will be faster than many other areas of agriculture and will contribute to the main sector for the development of the Indian economy. Livestock productivity has been identified as one of seven sources. The inter-ministerial committee under the government is expected to meet the target of increasing income and doubling the income of farmers by 2022.
Farmers can increase their income by cultivating paddy, wheat as well as cattle and fish. The government has run many schemes for this. A lot of grants are also being received in these schemes. By doing this, they can strengthen their financial condition. Animal Husbandry Startup Grand Challenge, Appreciating innovations coming from villages to expand dairy, National Livestock Mission, ensuring quantitative and qualitative improvement in livestock, production system and capacity building of all stakeholders, Central Sector Plan on Blue Revolution, Integrated Animal credit card schemes by development and fisheries management (CSS) and small states like Haryana make this sector financially strong. Still, some other steps can attract the farmers in this area. Plans for an integrated approach to increase inland fish production and to adopt large-scale culture-based capture fisheries and cage culture upstream of reservoirs and large water bodies, sustainable exploitation of marine fishery resources especially deep-sea marine farming Through resources and enhancement of marine fish production, encouraging public-private partnerships for sustainable livestock rearing, increasing commercialization of livestock products by improving technologies, increasing market connectivity, processing and storage centers, training, etc. can making it stronger and safer.
In a way, youths are getting hit in big cities in search of jobs, while many youths are making good profits from fisheries and animal dairy away from the hustle and bustle of the city. India is geographically the best country for fish farming. In almost every state, fishes are reared and animals are kept. But there is still a lot of potential for new experiments in this field. If the youngsters want to start a business, then they can start fish farming and animal dairy. The loan is also being provided from Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana to do this work. For the eradication of poverty, the livestock and fisheries sector should not be just a vehicle. Rather, it should emerge as a platform to gain a livelihood. Looking at cattle, pigs or poultry may not seem glamorous, but earning good money is certainly an attractive proposition. If the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development along with the National Center for Disease Control and Dairy Cooperative Societies set up a fund association and take it forward to a national level, it will surely change the economic picture of India.
(Priyanka Saurabh is independent journalist, columnist, research scholar in political science and poetess. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)