Improving productivity of farm animals is one of the major challenges. The average annual milk yield of Indian cattle is 1172 kg which is only about 50% of the global average.
The Frequent outbreaks of diseases like Food and Mouth Diseases, Black Quarter infection, Influenza etc. continue to affect Livestock health and lowers the productivity.
India’s huge population of ruminants contributes to greenhouse gases emission adding to global warming. Reducing greenhouse gases through mitigation and adaptation strategies will be a major challenge.
Crossbreeding of indigenous species with exotic stocks to enhance genetic potential of different species has been successful only to a limited extent.
Limited Artificial Insemination services owing to a deficiency in quality germplasm, infrastructure and technical manpower coupled with poor conception rate following artificial insemination have been the major impediments. After more than three decades of crossbreeding, the crossbred population is only 16.6% in cattle, 21.5% in pigs and 5.2% in sheep.
The sector will also come under significant adjustment pressure to the emerging market forces. Though globalization will create avenues for increased participation in international trade, stringent food safety and quality norms would be required.
Livestock sector did not receive the policy and financial attention it deserved. The sector received only about 12% of the total public expenditure on agriculture and allied sectors, which is disproportionately lesser than its contribution to agricultural GDP.
The sector has been neglected by the financial institutions. The share of livestock in the total agricultural credit has hardly ever exceeded 4% in the total (short-term, medium-term and long-term). The institutional mechanisms to protect animals against risk are not strong enough.
Currently, only 6% of the animal heads (excluding poultry) are provided insurance cover. Livestock extension has remained grossly neglected in the past. Only about 5% of the farm households in India access information on livestock technology. These indicate an apathetic outreach of the financial and information delivery systems.
Livestock derives a major part of their energy requirement from agricultural byproducts and residues. Hardly 5% of the cropped area is utilized to grow fodder. India is deficit in dry fodder by 11%, green fodder by 35% and concentrates feed by 28%. The common grazing lands too have been deteriorating quantitatively and qualitatively.
Access to markets is critical to speed up commercialization of livestock production. Lack of access to markets may act as a disincentive to farmers to adopt improved technologies and quality inputs. Except for poultry products and to some extent for milk, markets for livestock and livestock products are underdeveloped, irregular, uncertain and lack transparency. Further, these are often dominated by informal market intermediaries who exploit the producers.
Likewise, slaughtering facilities are too inadequate. About half of the total meat production comes from un-registered, make-shift slaughterhouses. Marketing and transaction costs of livestock products are high taking 15-20% of the sale price.
Other Major Challenges faced by the sector are:
Inadequate availability of credit.
Poor accesses to organized markets deprive farmers of proper milk price.
Limited availability of quality breeding bulls.
Deficiency of vaccines and vaccination set-up.
Due to industrialization and Urbanization Majority of grazing lands are either degraded or encroached.
Diversion of feed and fodder ingredients for industrial use.