Next to agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development sector plays an important role by generating gainful employment in the rural sector, particularly among the landless labourers, small and marginal farmers and women by supplementing to their family incomes. The Livestock Sector not only provides essential proteins and nutritious human diet but also plays an important role in utilization of non-edible agricultural by-products.
In semi arid region like Kutch, animal husbandry has remained important source of livelihood parallel to agriculture. The vast grazing area and suitable condition for forage crop has supported this sector to sustain. In the absence of proper infrastructure like animal health facilities and organized market for animal product, this sector has suffered a lot. The animal rearers also not able to fetch good market price for their products. For last few years, VRTI and other institutes working in the Kutch have directed their efforts towards development of the sector. Communities are organized in groups for procurement of fodder, water security and health services for animals. To establish proper market for milk, animal rearers have been organized and linked to district dairy. This has provided better return for milk and income has increased.
To organize animal rearers, at village level animal husbandry groups are formed. These groups play vital role in development of animal husbandry sector.
In Kutch, infrastructure for animal health services is not sufficient to cater the total area. This situation has negative impact on animal health and it leads to loss to animal rearers. In rural area, for providing animal health services, VRTI trains rural youth in this field and they are known as ‘Paravet’. Paravet provide services like general treatment, AI, vaccination, deworming to animal rearers. To save animals from certain infectious diseases, vaccination is carried out to animals. VRTI along with government department and other funders organize vaccination camps in rural area with help of paravet.
Key objectives for focusing Animal husbandry sector:
- Improving backward & forward market linkage will provide impetus to occupation
- Water & fodder security is essential for sustaining animal husbandry in drought prone region
Impact of Activities:
- Better economic return helps in reducing vulnerability (20 % increase in income of 6000 animal rearers)
- Animal health services through dedicated team of trained rural youth
- Fodder security through fodder plot development & pasture land development
- Since animal husbandry is women’s fortress, money in women’s hands has improved their statues in the families
- Availability of fodder throughout the year
- Reduction in migration
- Regular prevention of diseases and treatments of animals at low cost
- Availability of quality cattle feed at low cost
- Organization at local level for milk procurement and collection system
- Opportunities for learning through exposure visits