The importance of dairy industry in India can be best judged by the fact that it provides livelihood to 60 million rural households and of these two third households are of small, marginal and landless labourers.
India is a global leader amongst dairying nations and produced 160.35 million tonnes of milk during 2015-16. The dairy cooperatives of the country have the singular distinction of providing seventy five percent of their sales, on an average, to the farmers.
As many as 75 million women are engaged in the sector as against 15 million men. There is an increasing trend towards participation of women in livestock development activities. This has led to empowerment of women-headed households in the rural communities.
India with 30 crore bovines has 18% of the world's bovine population. Cattle Genetic Resources have been evolved by the farmers, cattle rearers and breeders using traditional and scientific knowledge, and today India has 39 breeds of cattle.
Indigenous breeds are robust and resilient and are particularly suited to the climate and environment of their respective breeding tracts. They are endowed with qualities of heat tolerance, resistance to diseases and the ability to thrive under extreme climates and low plane of nutrition.
Impact of global warming on Indian dairy industry:
Studies of impact of Climate Change and effect of temperature rise on milk production of dairy animals indicates that temperature rise due to global warming will negatively impact milk production.
The decline in milk production and reproductive efficiency will be highest in exotic and crossbred cattle followed by buffaloes. Indigenous breeds will be least affected by global warming. In order to develop heat tolerant and disease resistant stock countries including United States of America, Brazil and Australia have imported Indian indigenous breeds.
Benefits of indigenous breeds:
The indigenous breeds of cows are known to produce A2 type protein rich milk which protects us from various chronic health problems such as Cardio Vascular Diseases, Diabetes and neurological disorders besides providing several other health benefits.
Scientists and people engaged in marketing of Milk were of opinion the A2A2 rich milk should be separately marketed in the country. Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries has sanctioned Rs. 2 cr each to Odisha and Karnataka for marketing of A2A2 rich Milk of our indigenous breeds.
The potential to enhance the productivity of the indigenous bovine breeds of India through professional farm management and superior nutrition is immense.
Rashtriya Gokul Mission:
For the first time in the country, Rashtriya Gokul Mission has been initiated under National Programme for Bovine Breeding and Dairy Development to take up development and conservation of indigenous breeds in a focused and scientific manner. Under the Scheme 35 projects with an allocation of Rs. 582.09 cr has been sanctioned.
Funds have been sanctioned for establishment of 14 Gokul Grams under Rastriya Gokul Mission. For this first instalment has already been released to the States.
Funds have been sanctioned for strengthening of 35 bull mother farms of indigenous breeds including Yak and Mithun. First instalment for strengthening Bull Mother Farms has already been disbursed to the States.
Funds have been sanctioned for field performance recording of 1,50,000 animals of indigenous bovine breeds and first instalment has also been disbursed to the States. For upgrading, the non-descript cattle population, 3,629 bulls have been inducted for natural service.
For production of frozen semen, 65 high genetic merit disease free bulls have been inducted at semen stations. Bull production programme of indigenous breeds for natural service have been inducted by the States of Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat.
Most of the countries have National Breeding Centre at the National level. For the first time in the country to take up holistic and scientific development and conservation of indigenous breeds two National Kamadhenu Breeding Centres are being established: one in southern region- in Andhra Pradesh and second one in northern region in Madhya Pradesh.
Nucleus herd of all 39 indigenous breeds of cattle and 13 breeds of buffaloes is being established at National Kamadhenu Breeding Centre with the aim of development and conservation of these breeds.