Sharad Pawar for livestock, dairy cooperatives in NE

Gangtok, Nov 29 : Union Agriculture and Food Processing Industries Minister Sharad Pawar on Friday strongly advocated supporting animal husbandry sector in the north eastern region of the country.

"It will not only lead to better nutrition for residents of the region but also supplement household incomes of the rural poor," he said.

Addressing the Conference of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Ministers of North Eastern States at Gangtok, Pawar said that the animal husbandry sector has been among the few growth generators in rural areas and has contributed to more than 32 percent of agricultural GDP in the country.

The minister informed that the value of output from animal husbandry is higher than the value of output from the value of output from wheat and sugarcane put together.

With milk production peaking 132.43 million tonnes in 2012-13, India is the largest producer of the milk in the world today.

With 8.6 million tonnes of fish production, India is the second largest producer of fish in the world.

It also has world's largest live stock population accounting for about half the population for buffaloes and 1/6th of the goat population.

About 70 million rural household own livestock of one kind or the other and 60 million among them own cattle or buffaloes and 2/3rd of them are small and marginal farmers and landless agricultural labourers, he said.

Emphasising upon the importance of promoting cooperative dairy sector in this region, Pawar said, "The country has large network of dairy cooperatives which has contributed to the success of quality milk production in the organised sector. About 15 million farmers have been organised under the ambit of 1.5 million village level dairy cooperative societies in the country."

He said the Indian government will supplement efforts of state governments for quality inputs in these sectors through central government schemes in the 12th Plan - the National Programme of Bovine Breeding and Dairying (NPBBD) and Dairy Entrepreneurship Development Scheme and the World Bank aided National Dairy Plan.

He expressed concern that despite excellent efforts made, average productivity of dairy animals of NE regions is still the lowest in the country.

"This will be addressed in a more focused manner by NPBBD," he said.

Sikkim's Governor Shriniwas Patil and Chief Minister Pawan Chamling also addressed the conference.

--IBNS (Posted on 30-11-2013)

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