Technology Powering Animal Husbandry & Dairy Sector: Atul Chaturvedi
“The Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying is adopting technological innovations in genomics to increase productivity. Further, looking at technology with respect to traceability, breed improvement, disease prevention of the livestock is going to be the face of the future of Agriculture,” says Atul Chaturvedi, Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, in an interview with Elets News Network (ENN).
Do you think that the National Livestock Mission (NLM) is a gamechanger 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 the private sector into the sector but will also lead India 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 diseases 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 an animal which can be read in the form of a 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).
In this particular portal, all the information regarding the animal such as the name of the species, its productivity, lineage, health condition, symptoms in case of diseases would be uploaded. So, once you have this unique ID related to a particular animal with all its details available online then this can be a gamechanger in terms of traceability of the animal and animal products like meat, milk or other dairy products.