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Insights into Editorial: Improving livestock breeding




Livestock breeding in India has been largely unorganised because of which there have been gaps in forward and backward integration across the value chain.

Such a scenario impacts the quality of livestock that is produced and in turn negatively impacts the return on investment for livestock farmers.

Approximately 200 million Indians are involved in livestock farming, including around 100 million dairy farmers.

Roughly 80% bovines in the country are low on productivity and are reared by small and marginal farmers.

To enhance the productivity of cattle, the Rashtriya Gokul Mission was initiated in 2014 with a focus on the genetic upgradation of the bovine population through widespread initiatives on artificial insemination, sex-sorted semen, and in vitro fertilization.


Livestock sector in India:

  1. Animal rearing has multidimensional potential. India is the highest livestock owner of the world.
  2. Animal husbandry refers to livestock raising and selective breeding. It is the management and care of animals in which the genetic qualities and behaviour of animals are further developed for profit.
  3. It is a major risk mitigation approach for small and marginal farmers, particularly across the rain-fed regions of India.
  4. It is at the centre of poverty alleviation programs from equity and livelihood standpoints.
  5. Livestock productivity has been identified as one of the seven sources of income growth by the Inter-Ministerial Committee under the government’s target of doubling farmers’ income by the year 2022.
  6. As per the 20th Livestock Census, the total Livestock population is 535.78 million in the country showing an increase of 4.6% over Livestock Census-2012.
  7. A large number of farmers depend upon animal husbandry for their livelihood. It supports the livelihood of almost 55% of the rural population.
  8. As per the Economic Survey-2021, the contribution of Livestock in total agriculture and allied sector Gross Value Added (at Constant Prices) has increased from 24.32% (2014-15) to 28.63% (2018-19).
  9. For instance, Operation Flood, launched in 1970, helped dairy farmers direct their own development, increased milk production, augmented rural incomes and ensured reasonable prices for consumers.


About Rashtriya Gokul Mission:

It was initiated in 2014 with a focus on the conservation and development of indigenous breeds and improve their genetic makeup.

The scheme is implemented on 100% grant-in-aid basis. The components include:

  1. Establishment of integrated indigenous cattle centres – Gokul Gram
  2. Establishment of breeder’s societies – Gopalan Sangh
  3. Gopal Ratna award to Farmers and Kamadhenu award to breeders’ societies
  4. National Kamdhenu Breeding Centres are being established as Centres of Excellence
  5. Provision for capital subsidy up to Rs. 200 lakh for setting up breeding farm with at least 200 milch cows/ buffalo using latest breeding technology.
  6. E-Pashu Haat- An e-market portal connecting breeders and farmers to provide quality- disease free bovine germplasm
  7. Pashu Sanjivni: An Animal Wellness Programme with the provision of animal health cards along with UID identification


Entrepreneurship development: Revised version of Rashtriya Gokul Mission and National Livestock Mission (NLM):

The revised version of the Rashtriya Gokul Mission and National Livestock Mission (NLM) proposes to bring focus on entrepreneurship development and breed improvement in cattle, buffalo, poultry, sheep, goat, and piggery by providing incentives to individual entrepreneurs, farmer producer organisations, farmer cooperatives, joint liability groups, self-help groups, Section 8 companies for entrepreneurship development and State governments for breed improvement infrastructure.

  1. The breed multiplication farm component of the Rashtriya Gokul Mission is going to provide for capital subsidy up to Rs.200 lakh for setting up breeding farm with at least 200 milch cows/ buffalo using latest breeding technology.
  2. The entrepreneur will also start generating income out of the sale of 15 kg of milk per animal per day for around 180 animals from the first year.
  3. This breeding farm will break even from the first year of the project after induction of milk in animals.
  4. Moreover, the strategy of incentivising breed multiplication farm will result in the employment of 1 lakh farmers.
  5. The grassroots initiatives in this sphere will be further amplified by web applications like e-Gopala that provide real-time information to livestock farmers on the availability of disease-free germplasm in relevant centres, veterinary care, etc.
  6. The poultry entrepreneurship programme of the NLM will provide for capital subsidy up to Rs.25 lakh for setting up of a parent farm with a capacity to rear 1,000 chicks. Thereafter, the chicks can be supplied to local farmers for rearing.
  7. Under this model, the rural entrepreneur running the hatchery will be supplying chicks to the farmers.
  8. An entrepreneur will be able to break even within 18 months after launching the business. This is expected to provide employment to at least 14 lakh people.
  9. In the context of sheep and goat entrepreneurship, there is a provision of capital subsidy of 50% up to 50 lakh.
  10. An entrepreneur under this model shall set up a breeder farm, develop the whole chain will eventually sell the animals to the farmers or in the open market.


Gokul Gram: Integrated cattle development centres:

The Rashtriya Gokul Mission also envisages establishment of integrated cattle development centres ‘Gokul Grams’ to develop indigenous breeds including up to 40% nondescript breeds.

  1. To promote indigenous cattle rearing and conservation in a scientific manner.
  2. To propagate high genetic merit bulls of indigenous breeds.
  3. To optimize modern Farm Management practices and promote Common Resource Management.
  4. To utilize animal waste in economical waye. Cow Dung, Cow Urine.


National Kamdhenu Breeding Centre:

Under RGM, two “National Kamdhenu Breeding Centres” (NKBC) are being established as Centres of Excellence to develop and conserve Indigenous Breeds in a holistic and scientific manner.

The main objectives NKBC are as follows:

  1. Conservation, promotion and development of 41 species of cattle and 13 species of animals.
  2. 1000 High Genetic Merit Indigenous animals will be maintained at each centre of all registered breeds
  3. Each centre will be set up in about 1000 hectares for this purpose. Machinery for making modern semen centres, veterinary clinics, Biogas plants, arrangements of balanced diet, gumutra and dung materials etc. will also be established.
  4. Apart from this, arrangements for Vermi-Compost, Silage Pit, Training, Milk Processing etc. will also be arranged.
  5. Special emphasis on development of extinct species
  6. Marking the characteristics of all species and early evolution



An e-market portal connecting breeders and farmers, an authentic market for quality- disease free bovine germplasm in the form of: i) semen; ii) embryos; iii) calves; iv) heifers and v) adult bovines with different agencies/stake holders;

The revised scheme of NLM coupled with the Rashtriya Gokul Mission and the Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund has the potential to dramatically enhance the productivity and traceability standards of our livestock.