A partnership dialogue organized by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) on livestock, research and development was held on 7 Nov 2012 in New Delhi.
With 485 mill. livestock and 489 mill. poultry, India ranks first in global livestock population. In recent years, India’s livestock sector has been booming. Livestock now contribute 28% of the output of the agricultural sector and the sub-sector is growing at a rate of 4.3% a year while that for the agricultural sector as a whole is growing at just 2.8% a year. Last year, India’s livestock sector output value was estimated to be over USD40 bill.—more than all grains combined.
With over 80% of livestock production being carried out by small-scale and marginalised farmers, the benefits livestock generate for India’s poor are enormous and diverse. But there are also great environmental and public health risks associated with the country’s livestock sector.
India’s projected spike in demand for milk and meat—176% by 2025—will have tremendous impacts on the environment; already, for example, global livestock production accounts for up to one-fifth of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions.
India’s fast-growing human population and resulting increasing animal-human interactions, combined with changing environmental conditions and inadequate sanitation and regulation, have made India one of the world’s top hotspots for livestock diseases, including zoonotic diseases.
All of ILRI’s international board of trustees and senior management participated in the Dialogue, as well as the director general of ICAR, the directors of ICAR’s animal science institutes and several vice chancellors and deans, with a total of 12 countries represented. A high-profile white paper will be produced from the proceedings of this dialogue to distill the major recommendations made and serve as a basis for pro-poor and sustainable livestock policy interventions in the country.