Animal Husbandry, Dairy & Fisheries Sector – Pashudhan Sanjivani, E- Pashudhan Haat, etc

Role of Women in livestock Rearing


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NA

Mains level : Role of Women in livestock Rearing,Importance of livestock in Indian Economy.



  • The livestock sector is one of the most rapidly growing components of the rural economy of India, accounting for5% of national income and 28% of agricultural GDP in 201819.In the last six years, the livestock sector grew at 7.9% (at constant prices) while crop farming grew by 2%. In rural households that own livestock, women are invariably engaged in animal rearing.

What is mean by Livestock?

  • Livestock are the domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting The livestock provides food and non-food items to the people. Food: The livestock provides food items such as Milk, Meat and Eggs for human consumption.

Role of Livestock in Indian Economy

  • Livestock plays an important role in Indian economy. About 20.5 million people depend upon livestock for their livelihood. Livestock contributed 16% to the income of small farm households as against an average of 14% for all rural households. Livestock provides livelihood to two-third of rural community. It also provides employment to about 8.8 % of the population in India. India has vast livestock resources. Livestock sector contributes 4.11% GDP and 25.6% of total Agriculture GDP.


  • India is the world’s largest milk producer, followed by the United States of America, China, Pakistan and Brazil.
  • India ranks 1st contributing 23 of the global production. In the last 3 decades, India witnessed over 3 times rise in milk production.

Role of Women in rural economy

  • Mostly engaged in agricultural activities: It is widely recognised that the majority of women workers in rural areas (72%) are engaged in agricultural activities. However, with the exception of participation in dairy cooperatives, specifically in milk marketing, women’s role in the livestock economy is not as widely known or discussed.
  • Rise in no of women in Dairy cooperatives: There were five million women members in dairy cooperatives in 2015-16, and this increased further to 5.4 million in 202021.Women accounted for 31% of all members of dairy producer cooperatives in 2020-21.In India, the number of women’s dairy cooperative societies rose from 18,954 in 2012 to 32,092 in2015-16.


Why women are not recognised in livestock rearing?

  • Sporadic nature of work: Conventional labour force surveys fail to accurately record women’s work in livestock raising for many reasons. Among the many problems in data collection, two significant ones are the sporadic nature of work undertaken for short spells throughout the day and often carried out within the homestead, and women’ own responses.
  • Poor data collection: 12 million rural women were workers in livestock raising an estimate based on the Employment and Unemployment Survey of2011-12. However, with the augmented definition, according to estimates, around 49 million rural women were engaged in raising the livestock.
  • Non recognition by policy makers: The problem clearly is that women livestock farmers are not visible to policymakers, and one reason is the lack of gender disaggregated data.

What are the Problems associated with women and livestock rearing?

  • No specific data on women in the livestock economy: Recent employment surveys such as the Periodic Labour Force Survey fail to collect data on specific activities of persons engaged primarily in domestic duties. So, the undercounting of women in the livestock economy continues.
  • Lack of Training: the reach of extension services to women livestock farmers remains scarce. According to official reports, 80,000 livestock farmers were trained across the country in 2021, but we have no idea how many were women farmers. only a few women in each village reported receiving any information from extension workers. Women wanted information but wanted it nearer home and at times when they were free.
  • Difficulty to avail loans: women in poor households, without collateral to offer to banks found it difficult to avail loans to purchase livestock. Around 15 lakh new Kisan Credit Cards(KCC) were provided to livestock farmers under the KCC scheme during 2020-22.There is no information on how many of them were women farmers.
  • Lack of technical knowledge: Women livestock farmers lacked technical knowledge on choice of animals (breeding) and veterinary care. Men invariably performed these specific tasks and took animals for artificial insemination.
  • No active role in cooperatives: Women were not aware of the composition and functions of dairy boards and that the men exercised decisions even in women only dairy cooperatives. Further, the voice of women from landless or poor peasant Scheduled Caste households was rarely heard.


What are the Government policies?

  • The National Livestock Policy (NLP) : The NLP of 2013, aimed at increasing livestock production and productivity in a sustainable manner, rightly states that around 70% of the labour for the livestock sector comes from women. One of the goals of this policy was the empowerment of women.
  • The National Livestock: The National Livestock Mission (NLM) of2014-15 was initiated for the development of the livestock sector with a focus on the availability of feed and fodder, providing extension services, and improved flow of credit to livestock farmers. However, the NLM does not propose any schemes or programmes specific to women livestock farmers.
  • Responsibility of state Government: The policy proposes that the State government allocates 30% of funds from centrally sponsored schemes for women. There is no logic for the 30% quota.



  • Women’s labour is critical to the livestock economy. It follows then that women should be included in every stage of decision making and development of the livestock sector. Today, women livestock workers remain invisible on account of their absence in official statistics. We must recognise the due role of women in livestock rearing.

Mains Question

Q.How women contribute to rural economy? Despite being a core in animal rearing, why women are yet not recognised in policy framework of government?

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