An international conference on animal nutrition was held in New Delhi this week, where around 300 scientists discussed the gloomy outlook of Indian animal production.
The conference is being organized by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), together with International Livestock Research Institute, Ethiopia, and the Indian Veterinary Research Institute.
To meet the rising demand for milk and meat products over the next five years, the government must focus its policy towards breeding of quality livestock along with ensuring supply of adequate seed, according to an official of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.
Talking to The Financial Express, K M Bujarbaruah, deputy director-general (animal science), ICAR, said: "Traditional means of selection of productive livestock is a time-consuming process, and we need to identify better milk producing animals from the indigenous cattle population."
High yielding cattle demanded
According to ICAR, out of around 100 million livestock, 47 million are buffaloes, 11 million cross- breed and 45 million belong to indigenous cattle varieties. "For meeting rising demand of milk over the next seven years, we can select high yielding 20 million cattle from the indigenous varieties," Bujarbaruah said.
Shortage of feed
Similarly, there is acute shortage of feed. ICAR data indicates that in the case of dry fodder the demand is 509 million tonnes, but actually the availability is only 459 million tonnes, a shortfall of 10%.
In the case of green fodder and concentrates, the demands are 648 million tonnes and 88 million tonnes, respectively, against the availability of 491 million tonnes and 62 million tonnes, respectively.
"We have a significant shortage of 32% and 25% green fodder concentrates," says a senior official with ICAR.
Egg production to triple
According to the World Health Organisation norm, the country needs to produce 160 billion eggs by 2015 around the current production of around 50 billion eggs.
Even if India wants to achieve half of the WTO target, it requires an enormous effort. Similarly, the meat demand in the country is going to rise from 6 million tonnes to 10.5 million tonnes by 2015.
India has about 16% of cattle, 56% of buffalo and 16.2% of goat population of the world.