Innovative Low cost dairy development for livelihood security by ICAR

Innovative small dairy development with negligible initial cost for livelihood security in India by ICAR (The technology is developed under the World Bank funded National Agricultural Innovation Project of Indian Council of Agricultural Research.)

Livelihood security is a complex term and include food & nutritional, health, educational, economic and overall environmental security. Rearing bovines for subsidiary/ major income is most popular venture throughout the world.On one hand it provides continuous income to the owners and simultaneously valuable milk is available to masses which has no alternative in terms of cheap nutritional source.

The major problems without reliable and economical solutions in adopting small dairy unit by families are: initial capital cost for purchase of milch animals by resource poor farmers, infertility in the animals resulting in prolonged inter-calving period and compromising with the profitability, mastitis in lactating animals and availability of feed and fodder. For controlling the diseases and healthcare extensive work is going on and reliable solutions exist world over.

There are 2 situations in the rural sectors viz. farmers have 1-3 low producing bovines and want to upgrade them in a high producing herd of 4-5 milch animals and secondly youth/ farmers want to start the small dairy unit of 4-5 milch animals for their livelihood security but either have no resources or reluctant to loans owing to inherent risk factors. Purchase of good germplasms itself shares around 70-85% of total initial cost which is unaffordable by theses poor farmers. Such animals cost around IRS 70000-10000/- each. Keeping in view the complexity of problems, a technology has been developed to address the problem.

a). The farmers having some low producing bovines (1-4 Nos.) opted for repeated estrous synchronization for 2-3 years with insemination from desired improved semen. Since inter-calving period was drastically reduced to around 14 months, within 3-4 years they had their own improved stock and practically their animals not only provided them extra milk through more lactation but established the unit free of cost by producing improved calves.

b) For new farmers/ youth the approach was changed. These farmers were encouraged for resource generations suiting their liking and availability of lands. From small initial investment on purchase of seed, they started short duration high value crops like off season tomato, okra, cut flowers and new model of rural poultry (landless). These interventions provided sufficient money within 3-4 months to purchase the first high milk producing animal in the last month of pregnancy or newly calved. Later on the return from interventions and sale proceed of surplus milk were pooled to purchase the second milch animals like first one within 3-4 months. The process continued for 1.5 years and the herd of 4-6 animals was ready without any significant investment and is a movable asset to the farmers. All the purchased animals were made pregnant using the infertility technology within 5 months of calving.

According to Dr R.B. Rai, Principal Scientist at IVRI, new rural poultry production technology as the best tool for resource generation and can be adopted by landless farmers also. The introduction of new animals named as Systematic Introduction Scheme (SIS concept). The technology is well accepted by the farmers and does not require any expertise skill except once training on the aspect. This may be a well accepted tool for creating reasonable livelihood security to weaker section of society and poverty alleviation as a whole.

For more details :Dr R.B. Rai ,Former Director – Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Services, Agriculture, Fisheries, Central Agriculture Research Institute – Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Principal Scientist at IVRI