Livestock Sector In India – Recent Trends And Progress Livestock


Livestock sector includes animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries sector are considerable major sectors. It plays an important role in the national economy and in the socio-economic development of the country. It also plays important role in the rural economy as supplementing family incomes and generating gainful employment in the rural sector, particularly among the landless labourers, small and marginal farmers and women’s.

Since India’s independence, it has experienced considerable economic growth and structural change; a trend accelerated by its structural reforms which began in 1991. These changes are also reflected in trends in its livestock sector which has shown considerable growth in recent decades especially since the late 1990s. There have also been major changes in the production of the Indian livestock sector.

Population of Livestock and Its Importance

According to 17th censes of the livestock, their existing population is 485002. It is increasing day by day due to its importance as an alternative source of income and food also. The importance of livestock in India goes beyond the function of food production. It is an important source of draught power, manure for crop production and fuel for domestic use. Thus, by minimizing use of nonrenewable energy, livestock make a positive contribution to the economic development. Livestock sector is an important source of income for the farmers and rural poor peoples. The growth in the livestock subsector is expected to contribute to poverty alleviation, as the livestock elements are largely concentrated among the marginal and small farmers in rural areas. Near about 70% of livestock market in India is owned by 67% of small and marginal farmers and by the land less. Livestock are an important source of income for the rural poor also. This sector contributed important share in export of Indian international trade. Recently the livestock subsector playing very important role in poverty alleviation in rural area. The livestock sector contributed over 5.26 per cent to the total GDP during 2006-07. According to estimates of the Central Statistical Organization (CSO), the value of output from livestock and fisheries sectors together at current prices was about Rs.2,82,779 crore during 2007-08 which is about 31.6 per cent of the value of the output of Rs.8,94,420 crore from agriculture & allied Sector.

Production of Milk

India continues to be the largest producer of milk in the world and India produced 13.1 per cent of the total milk produced in the world. Hence, India has attained the first rank in milk production in the world. At present the first five countries in the world producing maximum milk are India, USA, Russia, Germany and France. At the beginning production of milk was only 17 million tonnes (MT) in 1950-51 in India. Now it is increased to 104.8 million tonnes in 2007-08. World milk production is estimated at 693 million tonnes during 2007-08 and Indian milk production stands at 104.8 million tonnes. Despite a higher growth rate, the per capita availability of milk in India is 252 grams per day is lower than the world average 265 grams per day.

This has not only placed the country on top in the world, but also represents sustained growth in the availability of milk and milk products for the growing population of the country. Concentrated dairy products such as skimmed milk continues to be the largest item of export, which together accounts for nearly 78% of net milk and milk product exports during 2007-08.

Poultry and Egg

Poultry is one of the fastest growing segments of the agricultural sector in India today. Their growth rate has been rising at 8 to 10 percent per annum. As a result, India is now the world’s fifth largest egg producer and the eighteenth largest producer of broilers. Table eggs and broiler meat are the major end products of the poultry sector in India. The organized sector of poultry industry is contributing nearly 70% of the total output and the rest 30% in the unorganized sector in India. The Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra producing nearly 70% of the country’s egg production. Presently production of eggs is estimated to number about 37 billion, that of broilers 895 million, and that of poultry meat 735,000 tonnes. Egg production has increased from 21 billion in 1990-91 to 51 billion numbers in 2006-07 and 53.5 billion numbers in 2008. India ranks fifth in the world with annual egg production of 1.61 million tones. Poultry exports are mostly to Maldives and Oman. Indian poultry meat products have good markets in Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.

Fish Production

India has a about 8041 km of coastline, and about 5.70 million ha of fresh water area suitable for fisheries production. Fishing, aquaculture and allied activities are reported to have provided livelihood to over 14 million persons in 2006-07. In 2001 overall fish production was 5666 thousand tonnes it gradually increasing continuously. At present, India’s total fish production is about 76.21 thousand tonnes.

This sector has great potential to export their fish and fish product also. Since 1991, overall export of fish is raised at considerable rate. According to the data provided by ministry of agriculture and commerce of India, there export of fish and fish product increased from last ten years. In 1991 India has exported 140 thousand tonnes of fish and fish products but till it reached to 541 thousands tonnes its money value is Rs. 7621 crore in 2008.

Meat and Meat Products

The meat products industry in India is largely in the un-organized sector. With rapid urbanization, higher income levels and changes in lifestyle, market for scientifically produced and hygienically packed meat and meat products are expanding rapidly. Today, the increasing demand of the meat and meat products for in domestic and foreign market, particularly to the Gulf and West Asia and neighboring countries. In 2003 India had a livestock population of 470 million that included 205 million cattle and 90 million buffaloes. Cattle, buffaloes, sheep and goat, pigs and poultry are the types of animals, which are generally used for production of meat.

There is a huge scope for expanding exports, especially in buffalo and poultry meat, eggs and dairy products. Slaughter rate for cattle as a whole is 20%, for buffaloes it is 41%, pigs 99%, sheep 30% and 40% for goats. The country has 3,600 slaughterhouses, 9 modern abattoirs and 171 meat-processing units licensed under the meat products order. The production of meat has increased 1.9 million tonnes to 23 million tonnes from 2001 to 2007.

In meat and meat processing sector, poultry meat is the fastest growing animal protein in India. The estimated production of meat was 6.5 million tonnes during 2007-08. Per capita consumption increased from 870 grams in 2000 and expected to reach 2 Kg during 2009. According to APEDA, the export of buffalo meat was increased from 343817.08 tonnes (value Rs 1536.77crore) in 2003-04, to 483478 tonnes (Rs.3549.70 crore) in 2007-08. The export of sheep/goat meat is increased from 16820.53 tonnes (Rs 110.39 crore) in 2003-04 to 8908 tonnes (Rs.134.09 crore) in 2007-08. The processed meat export was 986.13 tonnes (Rs 7.63 crore) in 2003-04 and now it is 1245 tonnes (value Rs 12.96 crore). The export of poultry products was 415228.17 tonnes (Rs 202.40 crore) in 2003-04 it is also increased near about 1355246 tonnes (Rs 401.08 crore) in 2007-08.

Benefits of Livestock Sector Developments in India

Animal Husbandry sector provides large self-employment opportunities. Presuming that one family member is employed in looking after the livestock, 25 million people are estimated to be employed with the livestock rearing activity. This sector is playing very important role in the rural economy as support sector of the economy. Especially 70 million rural households primarily, small and marginal farmers and landless labourers in the country are getting employment opportunities in dairy. Dairying has become an important secondary source of income for millions of rural families.

Poultry is also another way of getting food and food security in India. Apart from food security it has provides employment to about 1.5 million people. Livestock Sector not only provides essential protein and nutritious human diet through milk, eggs, meat etc but also plays an important role in utilization of non-edible agricultural by-products. Livestock also provides raw material/by products such as hides and skins, blood, bone, fat etc.

This provides subsidiary occupation to a large section of the society particularly to the people living in the drought prone, hilly, tribal and other remote areas where crop production on its own may not be capable of engaging them fully. In the adverse climatic conditions and national calamities like drought, flood etc., animal husbandry practices shall be proved to be boon for sustaining the livelihood of the landless and marginal farmers in the state.


Indian livestock industry makes up for a significant amount of world’s livestock resources. Both the national economy as well as the socio-economic growth of the country is backed by the livestock sector. Besides, offering great potential and outstanding contribution in the agricultural sector over the past years. The livestock sector is performing well in the manner of production, value addition and export of dairy, fishery, wool, poultry and other products. Apart from its performance there are some threats also exist we need to re-correct it and take the global market opportunities.