Dairy farming: a sustainable means of income in sustainable agriculture – Le Sangai Express



Mr Norjit Singh, Th Ranadhir Singh, Chongtham Sonia, Blessa Sailo
Animal husbandry is an integral part of agriculture. It makes multifaceted contributions to the growth and development of the agricultural sector. Livestock contributes to improving food production and ensuring nutritional security. It generates income, jobs and acts as a cushion against bad harvests. It provides draft power and manure inputs to raise the crop. It also contributes to foreign exchange through the export of animal products.
Of the total land owned, 30% is owned by small marginal farmers. They manage 80% of the country’s total livestock. Livestock production is more impressive than food grain production. Livestock activity is largely confined to the rural sector. Land, labour, capital and organization are the basic resources available in the rural sector. These four animal production factors are proportionally integrated to increase the production of finished products; namely milk, meat, pork, wool and various products of commercial importance.
The problem of nutritional deficiencies is common among the poor. A low-protein diet based on grains and legumes should be supplemented with animal protein sources for which dairy products are well known.
The dairy industry plays a vital role in the agricultural economy of the country, which is the second largest contributor to gross agricultural product and the largest producer of milk with 18.5% of world production. The age-old format of conventional dairy management is being transformed into a more meaningful and scientific form, based on improved husbandry, feeding, housing and sanitary coverage practices.
India has the largest cattle population in the world (210 million). In India, the average farm size has decreased and more than 80 million out of 105 million operational farms are less than one hectare in size and pose a serious problem overall.
Farmers, especially smallholders, are unable to meet both ends with income from cultivation alone. The situation is further weakened due to the repeated failure of the monsoon on one side and on the other, due to the constant increase in population and the decline in the availability of land per capita.
(To be continued)

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