Biotechnology to play a significant role in enhancing income of livestock farmers: Chairman, NDDB

Biotechnology to play a significant role in enhancing income of livestock farmers: Chairman, NDDB

 Anand, 23 October 2018: The National Dairy Development Board and Department of Biotechnology, Govt of India organised a workshop on Enhancing Farmers’ Income through Animal Husbandry using Biotechnological Tools at Dr Kurien auditorium, NDDB, Anand on 23 October 2018. This one-day workshop provided a platform to all the participants for deliberations on prioritizing areas of research in the field of biotechnology to create a road map for increasing income of livestock farmers.

Shri Dilip Rath, Chairman, NDDB; Dr SR Rao, Senior Advisor, Department of Biotechnology, Govt of India; Dr NC Patel, Vice Chancellor, Anand Agricultural University; Dr B Pattnaik, Director, DFMD, ICAR; Dr A K Rawat, Director, Dept of Biotechnology, Govt of India; Dr Neelesh Sharma, Associate Professor, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology, Jammu; Dr CG Joshi, Director, Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre, Gandhinagar; Dr Amrish Tyagi, Principal Scientist & Head, Animal Nutrition Division, NDRI, Karnal; Dr AK Verma, HoD, Animal Nutrition, IVRI, Bareilly; Dr Pankaj Suman, Scientist, NIAB, Hyderabad; Shri Sangram Chaudhary and Shri YY Patil, Executive Directors of NDDB and experts from NDDB attended the workshop.

In his keynote address, Shri Dilip Rath said, “In India animal husbandry is a significant economic activity and on an average about 40% of the rural households are engaged in dairying. Income from livestock contributes 10-12% of the total income of our rural households. Due to exponential population growth and increased nutritional demand, the requirement for milk and animal products is steadily rising in India. Hence, it would be an opportunity to our farmers for adopting cost-effective production of quality commodities through livestock to accomplish the market demand, which inevitably multiply their income.”

Shri Rath said that raising production of quality milk and other commodities solely through increasing the animal numbers would not be advisable in the long term, because of increasing constraints on availability of feed, fodder and other resources. It is therefore imperative, that the country focuses on increasing the productivity by improving reproductive efficiencies, enhanced disease management and implementing scientific feeding of the bovine population to meet the growing demand of commodities. Biotechnology can play a significant role in enhancing productivity through the adoption of cutting edge technologies in animal breeding, health and nutrition.

Chairman, NDDB said that biotechnological tools are being used in animal husbandry for several years especially in (a) Animal breeding for artificial insemination, selective breeding, genomic selection, embryo transfer etc. (b) Animal health for diagnosis of diseases, vaccine production and (c) Animal nutrition for increasing digestibility, silage production etc. Due to cost involvement, complexity of technique, non-availability of trained manpower and infrastructure, advantages of biotechnological tools could not be fully utilized. Constant efforts are required for extensive use of biotechnology in animal husbandry particularly for scientific breeding especially considering the economic traits, thermo-stable as well as therapeutic next generation vaccines, point-of-care tests for rapid disease diagnosis and increasing digestibility for better utilization of feed and fodder.
The theme for first technical session on animal health was poverty alleviation through control of infectious diseases of economic importance. The second session highlighted animal breeding with the theme - Increasing productivity through biotechnology revolution in the field of animal breeding. The third session on animal nutrition & management focussed on the theme - Biotechnology as the magic tool for enhancing productivity by an efficient animal nutrition and management programme. The workshop concluded with a panel discussion on exploring the scope of biotechnology in animal husbandry.

Specific areas of further collaboration and R&D works were identified in animal health, breeding and nutrition which can be applicable to small-holder farming systems. Action points were recommended that will ultimately boost the income of dairy farmers.