New Delhi, Feb 6 (IBNS) Union Agriculture and Food Processing Industries Minister Sharad Pawar on Wednesday called upon States to allocate at least 25% of resources available under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) for livestock and fisheries sector. States are allocating around 18% of RKVY funds to this sector at present.
Addressing State Ministers and senior officers on animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries in a national level conference, Pawar also informed that the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries has proposed reorientation of its schemes in order to provide more flexibility to States in formulating projects/interventions to address major challenges facing the sector taking into account local conditions.
Stressing further the need for strengthening this sector, he said, "Efforts need to be stepped up to effectively utilize the funds allocated to the States under the National Mission for Protein Supplements (NMPS). The States which are yet to get even first installment under NMPS during current year may take urgent remedial action for release and utilization of allocated funds."
Potential of livestock and fisheries sector
Speaking of the importance of this sector, the Minister said, "...with 128 million tonnes of milk production we are the largest producers of milk in the world. With 8.6 million tonnes of fish production, we are the second largest producer of fish in the world. We have world's largest livestock population accounting for about half the population of buffalos and 1/6th of the goat population. Last year we achieved a phenomenal growth of over 13% in the meat production.
"Overall the sector contributes to more than 32% of agricultural GDP and has potential to grow faster in view of growing demand for animal protein from the consumers. The livestock sector acts as insurance in stabilising the farm income in the event of a natural calamity like drought."
Pawar also gave details about the strategy to be adopted in the XII Plan to increase production of dairy, animal and fisheries products.
These would include implementing the National Dairy Plan, with aim to increase the annual milk production to the level of about 180 million tonnes by 2021-22.
This will be achieved by increasing milch animal productivity by scientific breeding and nutrition programme supported by effective control of animal diseases, he said.
"In order to meet the growing demand for milk, the incremental annual production will now have to rise annually to an average of 6 million tonnes per year over the next 10-12 years, as against an average increase of about 3.5 million tonnes per year over the last 10 years.
"Of course, in last five years we have been achieving per year increase of 5 to 5.5 million tons per year and thus the target in front of us is definitely achievable," the Minister said.
Introduction of high yielding as well as hardy breeds, expansion of artificial insemination of milch animals, prevention and control of animal diseases, making fodder and feed available in sufficient quantities, and providing credit and fish-seed to fishermen are some of the planks of the strategy mentioned by the Minister.
Special focus on the North East
Stating that tapping rich potential of North East should be our foremost priority, Pawar said, "It is disheartening to note that with such huge water bodies in this area, the fish are brought there all the way from Andhra Pradesh. The hills of North East can offer excellent climate for the cold water fisheries.
"We must also concentrate on indigenous varieties of livestock like Yak, Mithun etc available in these areas. Pig rearing is integral part of the household in many of the North East communities. However, these need to be organised in more scientific manner. I would ask the Secretary ADF to have a special session on North Eastern issues in Guwahati or any other suitable location."
The Conference of State Ministers of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries was also addressed by Ministers of State, Tariq Anwar and Charan Das Mahant.
Anwar said that fisheries has been recognized as a powerful income and employment generator for economically backward population of the country. "Besides, it is a source of cheap and nutritious food."
Mahant said that there is a need to develop grazing land as there is a shortage of feed and fodder. "This is posing a major challenge in attaining higher growth in the livestock sector."
Besides Ministers, those participating in the Conference include secretaries of the three departments of the Agriculture Ministry (Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Agriculture and Cooperation and DG, ICAR), MD, NDDB, State secretaries and experts.