ICT will be a Game Changer in the Animal Husbandry and Dairy Sector
The Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying is bringing in technological innovations like using genomics which is helpful in increasing productivity through breed improvement and other related aspects. Hence, considering emerging technology in the sector with reference to traceability, breed improvement, disease prevention, better food and water availability to the livestock is going to drive the sector’s growth,” says Atul Chaturvedi, Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Government of India, in an exclusive interview with Souvik Goswami of Elets News Network (ENN).
Kindly give us an overview of the Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying.
The Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying has been recently formed by Government of India by separating it from the Ministry of Agriculture. This was done to bring the sector in further focus. The Animal Husbandry and Dairy sector has a huge potential not only in terms of increasing farmers’ income but also ensuring livelihood and food security in the country. Therefore, the whole focus is on how we can contribute to the growth of the country’s economy and increase farmers’ income through various initiatives that can be supported or facilitated by Government of India.
As per you, special attention has to be given to the industry. Is that the need of the hour?
This sector is growing at the compound annual growth rate of more than eight percent since the last five years. If this is compared with the compound annual growth rate of Agriculture (crop) sector, which includes Horticulture sector, then Animal Husbandry and Dairy sector has a lot more potential.
Do you think that National Livestock Mission (NLM) is a game changer for the sector?
The National Livestock Mission launched in 2014 encompasses a 360 degree growth in the livestock sector. The Mission was launched to ensure that we address all the aspects of reducing the input cost and make the cost of production competitive. If we achieve competitiveness and reduce input cost, the profit margins among the farmers would increase, and profit margins of the businesses for those who are aspiring to invest in the sector would rise.
This input cost efficiency is the key to the growth of the sector. Initiatives taken by the department to bring down input cost and to make the cost of production competitive are playing a crucial role to bring about growth in the sector. This will not only drive investments by cooperatives and private sector into the sector but will also lead lndia towards becoming the world leader in exporting food products from the livestock sector whether it is milk, other dairy products, or meat.
Do you think Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is going to play a major role in the success of this flagship programme and build a comprehensive ecosystem for the livestock and dairy industry?
In September 2019, our Honourable Prime Minister launched the national animal disease control programme from Mathura. This programme has two major aspects: (i) vaccinating 537 million animals of five species for disease like Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) twice a year; and (ii) tagging each and every animal with a unique ID number. This tag or Pashu Aadhaar contains a unique number on the body of animal which can be read in the form of barcode. The unique ID numbers will be fed to a platform named as Information Network for Animal Productivity and Health (INAPH) which is managed by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).