Supply Chain Development for Sheep and Goat Sector – Strategic Inputs (Part 1)

Vijay Sardana

Meat is a highly preferred food in most of the societies. When incomes rise, consumers' meat purchases usually increase quite rapidly in proportion to their total food purchase. Accordingly, a combination of increasing population and rising personal incomes has caused the demand for meat to grow rapidly both in absolute terms and in relation to the demand for most other agricultural products world over.

India has a very large and diverse genetic resource of goats and sheep. Presently there are about 124 million goats and 62 million sheep in the country providing 2760 million kg of milk, 714 m kg of meat, 52 m kg and 186 m kg of fresh skins annually. In spite of the huge reservoir of these animals, productivity of goats and sheep in respect to meat, milk and fibre is low due to lack or poor livestock service delivery resulting in indiscriminate breeding, insufficient feeding, several disease problems, etc.

On the other end, there is tremendous demand for Indian Sheep & Goat meat in the world market. Export has increased to Rs. 80.37 crore in 2005-06 from Rs. 33.07 crore in 2001-02. In 2003-04, this export had reached to Rs. 110.39 crore (more than 300 % growth). For the last two years there is stagnation in growth.It is because of lack of availability of sheep and goat meat. Leather industry is also looking for good quality goat and sheep leather for high value leather products.

Keeping all these opportunities in mind, the livestock industry and the Department of Animal Husbandry should provide thrust to this vital sector through Public-Private sector initiatives between various institutions working in the field of goat and sheep rearing and user industry.

Sheep and goats are genarally kept by people belonging to the disadvantaged section of the society. Development of this sector however provides tremendous scope to reduce poverty among these disadvantaged communities.

Some of the important issues required to be addressed by various stakeholders for the development of livestock sector are given below.

Policy Environment for Sheep & Goat Sector

The biggest reason hampering the development of livestock sector mainly Sheep and Goat sector is the lack of clarity in the various aspects of policy through out the supply chain.

Livestock Policy MUST take the few actions for faster growth of Sheep and Goat Sector

  • A National Strategy for Sheep and Goat sector should be developed. Some states use the term obnoxious industry for this sector and don't allow industry to set-up base in their territory.
  • A National Agency – “National Sheep and Goat Development Board” – in line with National Dairy Development Board to promote integrated value chain is required
  • District or region wise programme implementation body with the members of cooperative / breeder society / SHGs / producer companies, should be set up for the monitoring the development activities
  • Database of Livestock industry to ensure availability of good quality meat and traceability records with respect to breeds, farms and quality assurance should be made.
  • Taxation Policy for Sheep and Goat sector needs clarity to attract investment in this sector. It should be treated at par with agriculture and no activity related to sheep and goat should be taxed.
  • Veterinary Clinics in line with Agri clinic should be promoted.
  • Policy for Sustainable Management of Waste Lands / Common Property Resources for Sheep and Goat Rearing should be developed. Producers organizations (SHGs Breeders’ Associations / Cooperatives) who are willing to develop CPRs for scientific fodder production / pasture development for small ruminants, should be given priority.
  • National Policy on Interstate Quarantine should be promoted to ensure health status of migratory population of Sheep and Goats from state to state in search of feed and fodder
  • National Livestock & Meat Products Transportation Policy is required to ensure interstate movement of animals without any harassment on highways by various authorities and their field staff.
  • Innovative Credit & Insurance Policy and Financial support at low rate of interest for the sheep and goat farmers should be given to increase production.
  • Promotion of strong farmers organization / rears organization (producer company / rarer cooperative / federation of SHGs) may be accepted as a key policy option for Sheep / Goat rearing. Establishment of models including efficient market linkages through PPP should be explored for the benefit of small holders.
  • Development of Sheep & Goats sector has tremendous poverty reduction potential and PPP should aim at inclusive development of this sector.

    Policies should be developed in a participative form whereby recognizing the interests of small and large entrepreneurs, the female Sheep & Goat rears, the NGOs working in the field of Natural Resource Management.

    Genetics and Breeding Priorities for Sheep and Goat Sector

    Genetic Material is a critical component of the Sheep and Goats sector. There is less availability of the good genetic material for breeding and multiplication of the animals for the quality meat production and there is a lack of breeds, which can adjust to the regional climatic conditions and needs.

Genetic / Breeding Research must address the need of the industry

  • Breed improvement programmes should be assigned due weightage both through central breeding farms and other means. The central breeding farms should be revamped to make available quality genetic materials to the farmers. Selection of field stock for breeding purpose based on filed recording should be simultaneously introduced to improve the well adapted local breeds.
  • Need based research on breed improvement should be the criteria. Sheep-Goat Research Council with the partnership with stake holders and Industry should be established.
  • Conservation and development of indigenous breeds are suitable different regions to ensure biodiversity in the sheep and goat breeding programs and promote these breeds to suit the ground reality of the region.
    Nutrition Sourcing for Sheep and Goats
    Nutrition of the Sheep and Goat plays an important role in the development of the Sheep and Goat sector. Declining number of grazing lands/pastures and their productivity is causing a threat to the growth of Sheep and Goat sector. Lack of quality feed and commercial feed production for Sheep and Goat is also a big constraint in the development of this sector.

Nutrition Issue must be addressed

  • Need for National programme and efforts to address fodder deficiency for livestock sector mainly Sheep and Goat with focus of quality of feeding material for animal production – National Pasture Development program should be considered
  • Manufacturing of supplementary feed for Sheep and Goat whereby encouraging utilization of grains not fit for human consumption, agricultural by-products and other unused biomass.
  • Policy for sustainable management of Waste Lands / CPRs for Sheep and Goat Rearing through rearer/ farmer organisations (producer company/ rearer cooperative/ federation of SHGs etc.) under integrated small ruminant programme should be evolved.
    This can be the first point for Public-Private Partnership in supply chain.
    Veterinary Health Care Services Required for Sheep and Goat Sector
    Health Care Services is a critical component of Sheep and Goat sector. Sheep and Goat are prone to the various diseases in the early stages of their life. Due to these diseases farmers face a high mortality of their animals. Farmers are facing problems of lack of knowledge of the various animal diseases and less insurance programmes for the small ruminants.
    The major issues highlighted by the stakeholders related to Veterinary Care Services are as follows:

Animal Health care should be given due importance

  • Public-private partnership in Extension services including preventive and curative animal health care services should be explored with targets
  • Insurance programmes and health-care cover for small ruminants should be implemented at grass root level
  • Good Animal Husbandry Practices must be identified and promoted through public awareness campaigns by universities, NGOs and extension departments.
  • Disease Free Zones for Sheep and Goat sector must be promoted as part of national policy
  • Vaccination Research programme for Sheep and Goat sector should be initiated to control Blue Tongue and Foot Rot diseases
  • Deworming of Sheep and Goat should be initiated as national campaign inline with Polio vaccine in the country
    The OIE guidelines for disease free zones should be used to have MOUs with state government and NGOs.
    Revenue department on highways should be involved to study the migration and its implication on local economy and health.
    In the next article, issues related to transportation, slaughtering, Trade and R&D will be discussed.

(To be concluded in Part 2)



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