What is Animal Husbandry?

Animal husbandry is the most important non-farming activity in India. It employs about 70 million small and marginal farmers.

Animal Husbandry Meaning

It is also known as “livestock farming”. Mixed livestock farming is followed in India. Animal Husbandry comprises raising poultry, cattle, goats, and sheep.

Importance of Animal Husbandry in India

Forty percent of livestock farmers in India are involved in raising poultry. It should be noted that the share of livestock farming in employment is comparatively higher in semi-arid and arid areas than in well-irrigated areas. Lack of irrigation facilities in semi-arid and arid regions makes crop farming less feasible. So, farmers in these areas find animal husbandry to be suitable for their sustenance. Thus, livestock farming provides sustainable livelihoods to the people in semi-arid and arid regions where farming cannot be performed well. Another thing to note is that capital investment in livestock farming is comparatively less than that in crop farming.

So, farmers are able to reap greater benefits by incurring lower costs. Livestock farming is an important source of employment for rural women. Many women in rural areas are engaged in this activity. Livestock farming has resulted in increased production of milk, eggs, meat, wool, and other animal products. This has enhanced the consumption bundle both qualitatively and nutritionally.

Operation Flood

Launched in 1966, Operation Flood is a system of milk cooperatives. Under this system, the milk production of different farmers is pooled and grouped according to quality and grading. This milk is then processed and sold to urban centers. Such a system benefits farmers as it assures them of a fair return for their product in the market.

Gujarat has successfully implemented this system and is presently the hub of milk cooperatives in the country. The brand “Amul” is the best-known example of the success of milk cooperatives. Since the implementation of Operation Flood, milk production in India has increased by nearly 4 times.

Despite the fact that livestock farming is the most important source of non-farming employment, it suffers from various problems. The produce lacks in quality and is inferior to what is produced in developed countries. Additionally, livestock farming suffers from low productivity due to a lack of knowledge and information.

Lack of proper veterinary facilities often leads to animal diseases and deaths. To curb this problem, the government launched a life insurance scheme for farm animals in 2005.

The government also launched the National Project for Cattle and Buffalo Breeding. The objective of this program is the genetic improvement of farm animals.

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