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India is located in the northern hemisphere between 80 4 to 370 6 N latitude

and 680 7 to 970 25 E longitude; stretched about 3,214 km from North to South
and about 2,933 km from East to West; covers an area of 32,87,263 sq. km. India is
the second most populous country with human population of 1027 million1 which
constitutes about 16 per cent of worlds population. Trends in population since the
beginning of the century have shown a steady increase and during the last decade
(1991-2001) there was a growth of 21.34% in the population1. There has been
higher growth in urban population (31.11%) than in rural (17.97%) during the same
decade mainly due to shifting of rural people to urban areas in search of better
employment opportunities and amenities. About 22.5% (i. e. 68.97 million hectares)
of the total geographical area of the country is under forest cover2 and 11.10 million
hectares is under pasture. The country has 75.55 million hectares of irrigated area
while there is 19.55 million hectares of barren land.

In order to derive maximum benefits from the available resources and

prevailing conditions, the country has been divided3 into 15 regions on the basis of a
commonality of agro-climatic factors like soil type, rainfall, temperature, water
resources etc. (Annexure-I). The criteria adopted were homogeneity and
convenience in terms of planning and implementation with reference to geographical
area covered. These regions are: Western Himalayan, Eastern Himalayan, Lower
Gangetic Plains, Middle Gangetic Plains, Upper Gangetic Plains, Trans-Gangetic
Plains, Eastern Plateau and Hills, Central Plateau and Hills, Western Plateau and
Hills, Southern Plateau and Hills, East Coast Plains and Hills, West Coast Plains
and Hills, Gujarat Plains and Hills, Western Dry, and The Islands.

Livestock production systems in India are mostly based on low cost agro-by-
products and traditional technologies primarily for producing milk, draft power, meat,
egg, fiber etc. The land holding is invariably small. Average land holding has
decreased from 2.28 ha in 1977 to 1.55 ha for all land classes and 1.08 ha including
landless in 1990-91 (Table 2.18a & 1.5). Medium to large herds of cattle and buffalo
exist in the periphery of large towns and cities mainly for supply of milk. Small
ruminants and pigs are reared under extensive and semi-intensive systems of
production. Resource-poor small and marginal farmers and landless labourers
maintain majority of the livestock. 71% of cattle, 63% of buffaloes, 66% of small
ruminants, 70% of pigs and 74% of poultry are owned by marginal and small land
holders4. Intensification of production system has occurred only in poultry industry
and on a limited scale in dairy industry. Intensive pig farming has been initiated at a
low scale.

India is endowed with vast and varied forms of animal genetic resources that
have played crucial role in augmenting agrarian economy. In domesticated livestock

and birds, the number of documented breeds are: 30 of cattle, 10 of buffalo, 40 of
sheep, 20 of goat, 18 of poultry, 9 of camel and 6 of horse. In addition, the other
species found are: pig, Mithun, yak, duck, goose, turkey, guinea fowl, pheasant, dog,
and cat.

India ranks first in the world in terms of total milk production at 85.7 million
tonnes, egg production at 39092 million numbers in 2001-021 (table 3.7a) while the
meat production in 1999-2000 (including poultry) was 4.91 million tonnes (Table
3.6a). Livestock outputs (milk, meat and egg) have grown at an annual rate of about
5 per cent. There are estimates that by 2020 demand for milk, meat and eggs under
different income and population growth scenarios would be in the range of 126-183,
6.3-12.1 and 9.5-18.5 million tonnes respectively4.

However, the importance of livestock goes beyond its food production

function. Livestock provide valuable draft power worth Rs. 33,792 crores5, organic
manure for agriculture worth Rs. 5,700 crores1, dung as fuel for domestic purpose
worth Rs. 4,482 crore1 and other by-products including leather, bones and horns
worth Rs. 100 crores5. The contribution of livestock sector to the GDP has increased
from about 4.82% in 1980-81 to 5.51% in 1999-2000. The value of output from
livestock sector was Rs.1,302 billion which is about 24% of the total value of output
of Rs.5,358 billion from the agriculture sector during 1999-20001. Livestock and
products worth Rs. 34.7 billion were exported from the country during 2000-01.

Livestock sector is an important source of income and employment for

landless and small landholders. According to a National Sample Survey (1993-94),
employment in animal husbandry sector was 9.8 million in principal status and 8.6
million in subsidiary status.

The growth in crop production could not be sustained hence the focus shifted
to sustainable agriculture and its diversification. Indigenous genetic resources in
livestock sector and their conservation have thus become crucial for sustained food
production. The global (FAO) initiative for the State of World Animal Genetic
Resource would greatly help the countries to assess their strengths and weaknesses
to formulate globally competitive and farmer friendly programmes and policies to
meet the growing needs within the country as well as the new emerging standards of
world trade.


The State of Genetic Resources in the Farm Animal Sector

State of Genetic Diversity

Traditionally, India has been a mega biodiversity center and rearing of

domesticated animals viz. cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, pig, camel, horse, donkey,
yak and mithun has been practiced since time immemorial. In poultry, apart from
chicken, domesticated strains of avis such as ducks, geese, quails, turkey,
pheasants and partridges also exist. Other species viz. elephant, dog, rabbit and
pigeon are also important in some of the regions.

Species No of Breeds Population Population

199715 200316
(million) (million)
Cattle 30 198.88 187.38
Buffalo 10 89.92 96.62
Sheep 40 57.49 61.79
Goat 20 122.72 120.10
Pig 3 13.29 14.14
Donkey - 0.88 0.67
Horse 6 0.83 0.79
Mule - 0.22 0.31
Camel 9 0.91 0.64
Yak - 0.06 0.07
Mithun - 0.18 0.28
Rabbit - - 0.40
Poultry chicken 18 347.61 440.70
Duck 5

On the basis of use, livestock population can be classified under the following
major heads:

Milk group: This group comprises of cattle, buffalo and goat. Camel and sheep also
contribute to some extent, but their contribution is very little. Total provisional milk
yield for 2002-03 is 89.38 million tonnes. Share of cow, buffalo and goat was 42, 54
and 4 percent respectively. In cattle, indigenous cows produced bulk of the milk as
compared to that of crossbreds.

Draught group: This group comprises of work bullocks (castrated male among
cattle), buffalo, camel, horses, ponies, mules, donkeys and yak. Cattle and buffalo
constitute the major draught animal species in the farming sector, accounting for
nearly 90% of the total work output10. The number of work animals11 decreased by
about 25% in cattle and by 29% in buffaloes during 1972-92. Contribution of draught
animals to total power availability to agriculture has declined from 61% in 1971 to
23% in 1991. Absolute contribution has, however, remained unchanged at about
30,000 megawatts (Table 3.3a). Total draught animal pairs has decreased from
41.80, 33.98 during 1971-96 (Table 3.4a), however draught animal power intensity
has increased from 4.12 ha/animal pair in 1976-77 to 5.03 ha/animal pair in 1986-87.
(Table 3.5a).

Meat group: comprises of buffalo, cattle, goat, pig, sheep and poultry. Rabbit, Yak
and Mithun also contribute in small ways. Meat production in India grew from 0.85
million tonnes in 1981 to 5.90 million tonnes in 2003. Beef & veal, buffalo meat,
poultry meat, pig meat, goat meat, and mutton & lamb accounted for 25.3, 24.9,
27.1, 10.7, 8.0 and 4.0 percent respectively of the total meat in the year 2003(Table

Wool group: Sheep are used for wool production. Wool production grew from 32
million Kg in 1980-81 to 50.7 million Kg in 2001-02 (Table 3.7a). In addition, Angora
goats are reared for mohair production and Pashmina goats for pashmina wool. The
annual production of mohair is about 500 Kg; the yield of pashmina ranges from 100
to 250 gm/animal/year1.

Egg group: This group comprises mainly of fowls and ducks. Total egg production
has increased by more than 3 times during the last two decades from 10060 million
in 1980-81 to 39092 million in 2001-02(Table 3.7a). Share of egg productivity by
fowls and ducks was 92.5 and 4.7% respectively in 1998-99. Improved fowls
contributed around 70% as compared to 30% by desi fowls. (Table 3.8a)

Assessment of Genetic Diversity


India has 30 indigenous breeds of cattle in addition to the vast cattle

population which comes under the non-descript category. There are 3 major types of
cattle breeds as per their utility (i) Milch breeds Sahiwal, Gir, Rathi and Red Sindhi
(few animals only at organized farms); (ii) Draft breeds Amritmahal, Bachaur,
Bargur, Dangi, Hallikar, Kangayam, Kenkatha, Kherigarh, Khillari, Malvi, Nagori,
Nimari, Ponwar, Umblachery, Red Kandhari and Siri, and (iii) Dual-purpose breeds
Deoni, Gaolao, Hariana, Kankrej, Krishna Valley, Mewati, Ongole and Tharparkar.
Vechur and Punganur are the dwarf breeds. The population of some breeds like

Nagori, Hariana, Ponwar, Kherigarh, Mewati, Hallikar, etc. is declining mainly due to
mechanization of agriculture. In addition to these, there exist some stable
populations in different regions that significantly contribute to the food and
agriculture production of that region. These are Alambadi, Binjharpuri, Ghumsuri,
Pullikulam, Kumauni, Ladakhi, Malnad Gidda, Mampati, Manipari, Motu, Red
Purnea, Shahabadi, Gangatiri, ThoTho, and Tarai. There are no wild relatives of
cattle in India.

Some of the crossbred strains developed are Sunandini, Frieswal, and Karan-
Fries. Except Sunandini, the population of other strains is small.


India possesses the richest source of germplasm of buffalo and the best dairy
breeds are domesticated in north-western region of the country. There are 10
recognised breeds of riverine buffaloes (2N = 50) in India. These include large sized
breeds Murrah, Nili-Ravi and Jaffarabadi; and medium sized Mehsana,
Marathwada, Nagpuri, Pandharpuri, Bhadawari, Surti and Toda. Murrah is the best
dairy breed and is most sought after.

There also exist a number of buffalo populations, which have not been
defined as breeds. The local varieties need to be assessed, defined and
recognized. Though number of buffalo breeds has not decreased, but the population
of breeds like Bhadawari, Nili-Ravi and Toda is declining.


Diversity in goats, represented by 20 breeds, is related with the geography

and ecology of the region, environmental variations, production system and genetic
potential of the breed. Goats of temperate Himalayan region(Changthangi and
Chegu) possess the finest quality under-coat called cashmere or pashmina. The
goat breeds found in north and north-western region viz. Jamunapari, Marwari,
Zalawadi, Beetal, Kutchi, Sirohi, Barbari, Mehsana, Surti, Jhakrana and Gohilwadi
are large in size and primarily used for meat and milk purpose. In the southern and
peninsular part of India, goats with dual production of meat and milk viz.
Sangamneri, Osmanabadi, Kanai Adu and Malabari are found. The highly prolific
meat breeds (Ganjam and Black Bengal) are found in the eastern region. Some
other populations are also found in different parts of India like Andaman Feral goat,
Barren goat, Teressa (A & N Islands); Bidari (Karnataka); Assamese hill goat
(Assam) and Attapady Black (Kerala). Wild relatives of domesticated goat include
Markhor, Himalayan Ibex, Himalayan Tahr and Nilgiri Tahr.


There are 40 breeds of sheep in India. A sizeable population of sheep is non-

descript due to inter-mixing of breeds. These breeds can be classified on the basis

of major product i.e. apparel wool (3 breeds), carpet wool (11 breeds), meat and
carpet wool (13 breeds), and meat (13 breeds). Some of the sheep breeds are
known for their unique characteristics like Magra for lustrous wool; Changthangi for
fine wool; Garole for high fecundity; Chokla and Pattanwadi for best carpet quality
wool; Mandya for mutton; and Marwari, Decanni, Hassan, Jaisalmeri and Chokla for
their hardiness and capability to travel long distances. Some other population groups
like Kheri and Munjal in Rajasthan, Biangi in Himachal Pradesh and Dumba in
Gujarat are also available.

Bharat Merino, Avikalin, Avivastra, Avimanns, Nilgiri Synthetic, Patanwadi

synthetic, Kashmir Merino and Indian Karakul are synthetic breeds developed in


The camel in India are single humped (Camelus dromedaries) although a

very small number (about 100) of double-humped camel (Camelus bactrinus) are
also present. Camel are used for transportation and agricultural operations. There
are a total of 9 breeds (Bikaneri, Jaisalmeri, Kachchhi, Marwari, Mewari, Sindhi,
Shekhawati, Mewati and Malvi)


There are 6 important breeds of Indian horses namely Kathiawari, Marwari,

Bhutia, Manipuri, Spiti and Zanskari. Kathiawari is well known for its pace and
speed, and possesses good endurance power. Manipuri breed is used for polo,
racing and military transport.


Three distinct types of donkeys: Indian donkeys, Indian wild and Kiang are
available in India. Grey colour predominates but black, white and even piebald
colours are also seen. Indian wild donkeys are available in Rann of Kutch. Kiang is
available in Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh, and is dark red brown with white
underparts. Various types of donkeys have not been evaluated and characterized.


There are 3 types of indigenous pigs Desi, Ghori and Ankamali. Some
locally known populations are: Nicobari pigs and Andaman wild pigs (A & N
Islands), Doom (Assam), and Ghungroo (West Bengal).


India does not have indigenous rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), and the
Hispid hare (Caprolagus hispidus) is the nearest related species. There are three

major types of Indian hare. The black napped hare (Lepus nigricollis nigricollis) is
found in most parts of the country, major concentration being in Southern India. The
other variety of Indian hare is rufous-tailed hare (Lepus nigricollis ruficaudatus).
Their distribution ranges from Himalayas to river Godavari. The desert hare (Lepus
nigricollis dayanus) is found in Western desert zone of India.

Rabbits have been imported from other countries and reared under various
agro-climatic regions. The various rabbit breeds available in India are New Zealand
White, Soviet Chinchilla, Grey Giant, and White Giant for meat and fur, and Russian,
British and German Angora for hair.


No breeds have been identified in Indian yaks. Indian yaks can be classified
into distinct types viz. Ladakhi, Himachal, Sikkim and Arunachal types. Wild yak
(Bos mutus) is found in Changthang valley of Ladakh.


There are three distinct types of mithuns viz. Nagami, Zosial and Arunachali.
Nagami mithuns are mostly found in the Zunheboto district of Nagaland and the
Ukhrul district of Manipur; Zosial are found in Mizoram and Arunachali in Arunachal
Pradesh. Mithun is used primarily as a sacrificial animal and regarded as social
status symbol. Wild Gaur (Bos Gaurus) is present in wild life sanctuaries.



India and the neighbouring countries in the east are considered to be the
original home of the well-known Red Jungle Fowl (Gallus gallus) from which the
present day domestic birds have descended. The fowl population of India can be
classified into two types - desi/indigenous and improved/exotic.The birds are raised
mostly by the rural folks as a backyard enterprise. About 18 breeds of fowl have
been documented. The status of most of these breeds except Aseel, Kadaknath,
Kashmir Faverolla, Miri and Nicobari is not known.

Most of the present day populations are commercial hybrids involving White
Leghorn, Cornish, Barred Plymouth Rock, Rhode Island Red and Black Australorp.
Some crossbred strains of fowl have been developed to use them for rural poultry
production. Some of these are Giriraja, Vanaraja, KrishnaJ, Yamuna, Kalinga
Brown, Dhanraja, Mrityunjay, Cari Gold, Debendra, Nandanam-I, Girirani, Athula,
Gramalakshmi, Gramapriya. Vanaraja .


Ducks are mainly reared for egg production and are concentrated in eastern
and southern states of India. Indian breeds of ducks are Indian Runner, Nageshwari,
Sythetemete, Kuttanadu Chara and Chemballi. Khaki Campbel a synthetic breed is
being used as an improver breed.


Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica) is the domesticated version of

common wild quail (Coturnix coturnix). Indian subspecies of quail, viz. Rain, Grey
and Button quail collectively known as Bater has distinct popularity as game bird.
Quails are seen in diversified colour varieties. Commonly seen plumage is a mixture
of different shades of brown with some black patterns.

Besides the cultural and religious considerations for animal keeping, all the
breeds of different domestic livestock and poultry species are contributing
significantly to food and agriculture in terms of milk meat, wool, fibre, egg, manure,
fuel and draft power. Variations in regional demand for animal products have
influenced the use of different AnGR.

The AnGR capable of surviving the following specific conditions are:

Conditions AnGR
High altitude Mithun, Yak, Changthangi, Gaddi, Gurez, Karnah, Poonchi,
Rampur Bushair, Bhakarwal and Nilgiri sheep; Changthangi,
Chegu, Gaddi goat; Siri cattle; Toda buffaloes; Double
Humped Camel
Saline condition Garole sheep, Chilka Buffalo, Goat breed in Andamans.
Desert Nali, Chokla, Jaisalmeri, Magra, Kheri, Pugal, Marwari sheep;
Rathi, Tharparkar cattle; Jhakrana, Sirohi, Marwari goats;
Hot humid Bachaur , Vechur , Umblacherry , Kangayam cattle; Balangir,
climate Bonpala, Chotanagpuri, Ganjam, Garole, Tibetan and Madras
Red sheep; Bengal and Ganjam goat.

State of Knowledge of AnGR

The animal genetic resources of the country have been documented in

respect of their distribution, utility and morphometric characters. Most of the breeds
of cattle and buffalo are maintained at state owned organized farms where
information on growth, production and reproduction parameters is recorded and
maintained. For other species of AnGR, there are very few farms where

performance parameters on breeds maintained are recorded regularly. Information
on some of the breeds has also been collected through field surveys. However,
there are still some breeds which neither have any organized farm nor any
systematic survey has been conducted. Their performance records which are
essential for planning breed improvement programmes are not available. These
breeds are :

Cattle: Krishana Valley, Kenkatha, Kherigarh, Mewati, Ponwar and Siri

Buffalo: Marathwada and Toda

Sheep: Poonchi, Magra, Sonadi, Jalauni, Coimbototre, Tiruchi Black, Kenguri,

Shahbadi, Tibetan, Bonpala

Goat: Kutchi, Surti, Gohilwadi, Ganjam, Sangamneri, Malabari, Changthangi.

Horse: Manipuri, Bhutia, Zanskari

Camel: Marwari, Mewari, Shekhawati, Mewati, Malvi

Fowl: Busra, Punjab Brown, Chittagong, Danki, Ghagus, Harringhata Black,

Kalasthi, Tellichery, Tani

Most of the breeds have been identified on the basis of morphological

characters while the information on genetic architecture is available for few breeds.
The molecular characterization of AnGR for establishing genetic distances among
various breeds has been undertaken using microsatellite based DNA markers. FAO
recommended markers are being used in cattle, sheep, pig and poultry. The breeds
under various species covered are:

Species Breeds
Buffalo Murrah, Jaffarabadi, Nili Ravi, Mehsana, Bhadawari, Toda,
Pandharpuri, Surti, Tarai
Cattle Sahiwal, Hariana, Red Kandhari, Umblachery, Kangayam, Ongole,
Gir, Deoni
Sheep Garole, Jaisalmeri, Pugal, Gaddi, Nali, Chokla, Muzzafarnagri,
Karnah, Gurej
Goat Black Bengal, Chegu, Gaddi, Parbatsari, Osmanabadi,
Pig Pig population from northern and north-eastern India
Poultry Aseel, Nicobari, Miri, Kashmir Favorolla
Camel Jaisalmeri, Bikaneri, Kachchhi, Double Humped

The information on population status of AnGR, production environment and

infrastructure in the country are available for all species at district level and at five

years interval starting from 1961. This information contains age-wise, sex-wise and
utility wise (breeding males, working males, females in milk, dry females, etc.)
distribution under each species. Authentic breed-wise population data is not
available for the country as a whole. However some states have initiated breedwise
census in recent years.

An information system on AnGR of India has been developed at NBAGR,

Karnal and the database is maintained in the format of population, breeds,
infrastructure, production, utilization, semen banks, vaccine production and livestock
farms. Some information on AnGR is available in DAD-IS.

Information on land resources under grazing, pastures and fodder crops is

available. Feed and fodder resources available in different regions of the country
have also been documented at IGFRI, Jhansi, NIN&P, Bangalore and Ministry of
Agriculture. Occurrence of various diseases under different agro-ecological regions
is also recorded. A database on animal disease surveillance and monitoring is being
maintained at Project Directorate, Animal Disease Monitoring and Surveillance,

Quantitative data on economic viability of various breeds is not available.

Indigenous traditional knowledge (ITK) plays an important role in management of
AnGR but the same has not been documented yet. Quantitative information on
disease resistance capabilities and draft capacity is also missing.

Use of Improved AnGR is being considered a primary element in Countrys

strategy for enhancing productivity. Improved breeding male stock is produced at
some of the Government Livestock Farms and used for improvement of farmers
stock under different schemes. However, the improved AnGR produced at
Government Livestock Farms is not adequate so as to meet the requirement of the
farmers. Both the private and public sectors need to be organized further to produce
and use improved breeding stocks. However, other non-genetic development
approaches including health coverage, feed and fodder resources development,
management and marketing aspects are also given due weight for enhancing the
productivity of AnGR.

The Animal Production Systems in India can be classified mainly into three

Extensive Animal Production System (low input-low output): The most prevalent
system in the country is extensive animal production system prevailing all over the
country across all the states and agro-climatic regions. System is characterized by
low input use and low productivity. Almost all the species of livestock viz. cattle,

buffalo, sheep, goat, camel, donkey, horse, yak, mithun, pig and poultry are
maintained primarily under this system. Mostly farmers maintain animals of more
than one species to meet the domestic needs of animal product. Under extensive
production system, majority of the animals belong to locally adapted populations.
Typical herd/flock size under extensive animal production system ranges between
40-200 for sheep, 20-100 for goat, 5-15 for pig and 50-100 for duck. Average herd
size6 for cattle and buffalo is 3.7. The recently introduced breeds of livestock are
generally not maintained under this system.

This system is based on seasonal movements between Dry Western zone

and the Himalayan Central Plateau and on crop residues of the irrigated areas.
About 30 per cent of small ruminants are maintained by nomads. Yak, mithun and
swamp buffaloes are maintained in semi-domesticated system. In this system
animals remain in the forest for most of the time and are collected at the time of

Throughout rural India, local breeds of poultry are raised in the backyard
system at about 100,000 farms with flock size6 ranging from 25 to 250 birds with no
or little investment. These free roaming indigenous chickens have low productivity
(40 80 eggs/year). These also meet cultural and religious needs and provide a
reliable and readily convertible means of managing family resources. These breeds
are less susceptible to most of the common diseases and require less veterinary
care. The replacement stocks are also farm bred and therefore the inputs are
negligible. The labour cost is low as animal rearing is a family occupation. The
extensive production system has low risk factors as the locally adapted AnGR can
withstand most of the natural calamities. Moreover, there is very little cash
investment in this system.

Semi-intensive Animal Production System: In urban and peri-urban areas small

to medium herds of cattle and buffaloes are maintained for supply of milk under
semi-intensive animal production system. Locally adapted high producing as well as
recently introduced breeds/crossbreds are maintained under this system.

Typical farm size under semi-intensive system ranges between 5-20 for cattle
and buffalo. Very few farmers keep sheep and goat under semi-intensive system.
The flock size varies from 5 to 30 for sheep and from 5 to 20 for goat. Some farmers
also maintain10-50 poultry birds or 15-30 pigs under semi-intensive system. Mostly
one or two species are maintained at the same farm under this system.

The major risk factors under semi-intensive livestock production system are
natural calamities like drought, famine, flood and blockage of external inputs.
Outbreaks of epidemic diseases also affect this system to a certain extent. The

availability of high quality low priced feed is another limiting factor6, which
determines the feasibility of stall-feeding.

Intensive Animal Production System: Intensive animal production system is

followed primarily in poultry and to some extent in cattle, buffalo, rabbit and pigs.

Under this system, high producing recently introduced breeds or strains are
maintained for commercial purposes. Typical farm size under intensive animal
production system ranges between 50-200 for cattle and buffalo, 40-120 for pigs and
1,000-10,000 for poultry. Mostly one species is maintained under this system.

About 60% of poultry meat and 56% of eggs are produced under intensive
system. There are about 60,000 poultry farms, some of which raise more than
100,000 birds. By 1991 there were 3000 poultry co-operatives with 190,000

The major risk factor for intensive system is spread of epidemic diseases in
the herd/ flock. Other factors like capital and labour availability; lack of insurance;
seasonal fluctuations in supply of feed ingredients, produce & market demand are
also important.

Interventions towards Genetic Improvement

All types of breeding structures are being used in India for genetic
improvement. Straight breeding is the main programme for buffaloes and few
breeds of cattle. Unstructured breeding, grading up and to certain extent
crossbreeding are followed in cattle, sheep and goat. Crossbreeding in cattle is
being practiced to augment the milk production of indigenous breeds and in sheep to
augment the quality wool/meat production.

Progeny-testing scheme was started in the Third Five-Year Plan to ensure

identification of superior Hariana and Murrah bulls tested on the basis of
performance of their progeny rather than only the dams yield. The tested bulls were
used through AI for achieving higher genetic gain. There are some field progeny
testing programmes for indigenous breeds of cattle and buffaloes supported by the
Government, Cooperatives dairies, Research Institutes and NGOs. Even these
programmes are deficient for want of requisite performance recording. Most of
ongoing progeny testing programmes are dependent on institutional herds, leaving
out good animals possessed by the farming community. Progeny testing
programmes have been undertaken for Sahiwal, Hariana, Ongole cattle and Murrah

and Surti buffaloes. However, the number of bulls tested and selected is too few to
make any appreciable impact on genetic improvement.

Under the AICRP/Network Project approach, genetic improvement and

conservation of indigenous AnGR is being undertaken at a number of species
specific institutes of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and in
collaboration with the State Agricultural Universities. Such activities have also been
taken up by State and Central Government Farms, NDDB and some NGOs including
Gaushalas. The breeds on which improvement and conservation programmes are
going on are listed below:

Institute Species Breeds

PDC, Meerut Cattle Tharparkar, Ongole, Hariana, Gir
CIRB, Hisar Buffalo Murrah, Jaffarabadi, Nili Ravi, Surti,
Pandharpuri, Godavari, Swamp buffaloes
of Assam and Bhadawari
CIRG, Makhdoom Goat Jamunapari1, Sirohi1, Barbari2, Black
Bengal3, Ganjam3, Sangamneri3, Surti3,
CSWRI, Avikanagar Sheep Chokla2, Marawari2, Muzaffarnagari2,
Deccani3, Nellore3, Magra3, Madras
3 3
Red , Ganjam
NRCC, Bikaner Camel Bikaneri, Jaisalmeri, Kachchhi, Double
humped camel
1 2 3
Both farm & field unit; farm unit; field unit


The Changing and Growing Demands on The Farm Animal


The pattern of urbanization and economic development have provided

opportunities for farmers to move from subsistence production for primarily home
use to market oriented production with attendant demands for greater consistency of
production, more reliable and predictable quality, better producer organization,
equitable price negotiation, reliable product delivery, access to credit, greater
economic risk and increasing competition for resources, markets, credit and favours
from government organizations outside the traditional agricultural sector7. As such
this system relies on increasing external inputs.

In arid areas, shift from bovines towards sheep and goats reflect increased
pressure on grazing resources. About 40% of sheep and goat are slaughtered for
meat production each year, which is about the total off take to be expected for small
ruminant production under low input conditions6.

High input livestock production is also becoming common in peri-urban areas

as urban population expands and economic development leads to larger, more
lucrative and more consistent markets for animal products. Private entrepreneurs
and multinational companies are making investments under this system. Intensive
animal production system is followed primarily in poultry. The farms following
intensive production system are using technology and inputs developed locally or

Specialized draft breeds are becoming irrelevant in their home tracts because
of drastic changes in irrigation, agro-climatic and agronomic packages.

Animal Products and their Contribution to Total Value

Milk, meat, eggs, draft power, wool, hair, hides, skins, dung for fuel (cake and
biogas) and manure are the important animal products and by-products. Milk is the
most important contributor to the value of output from livestock sector. Its
contribution to total value was more than 69 per cent in 1999-2000. Meat, dung,
eggs, hides & skin, and wool & hair contributed about 13.6, 7.8, 3.1, 1.8 and 0.27
per cent respectively (Table 2.19a).

In last two decades the meat production increased by about 4.5 times. There
were 4030 registered and 5891 unregistered slaughterhouses (1999) in India (Table
4.11a). Population slaughtered in cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig were 6.4,
11.03, 30.0, 37.98 and 83.7 percent, respectively (Table 2.20a). Unsophisticated
slaughtering practices contribute to poor meat quality and low recovery of various

Indian leather industry has 125 medium and large scale units, 1200 small
scale units and thousands of tiny tanneries in rural areas. Hides and skins are
terminal markets. The states of Tamilnadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal account
for more than 80% of countrys leather output. The leather raw material imports were
Rs. 8730.6 million in 2000-01 to increase capacity utilization resulting in export worth
Rs. 17455.7 million1.

Wool production increased by 54% during 1980-81 and 2000-01. The

government buys 10-15% of marketed wool6. Majority of wool produced in India is
carpet type. The deficit of wool is met by imports to the tune of 53763.7 mt valued
Rs 4579.6 million1 (2000-01).

Major Trends in Use and Management of AnGR

Although small farm production is the major animal production system, yet
more and more animals are now being reared under semi-intensive and intensive
system of management. There has been reduction in pastoral way of animal keeping
due to increase in urbanization and socio-economic conditions. Low productivity of
indigenous breeds, urbanization/ deforestation/ commercialization are the factors
that disfavour low producing locally adapted AnGR.

In large ruminants, until recently, cattle have mainly been contributing to draft
power. However, with the increased availability of mechanical power in the recent
past demand for animal draft power has decreased resulting in preference for milch
type animals. The co-operatives have provided organized and assured market for
milk, thus encouraging the farmers to rear milch animals. Buffalo, being multi-
purpose animal (for milk, meat and draft), is becoming the species of choice in large
ruminants. Improvement in mechanized transportation has led to decline in use of
pack animals (camel, horse, donkey, mule etc.) and these are now more confined to
inaccessible areas. For instance, yak is vital as a pack animal in high altitude hills
and mountains. Further, the increase in demand for food of animal origin has
favoured the livestock for meat production.

Mechanization and diversification has resulted in reduced availability of crop
residues to animals. Green revolution varieties of food grains produce less and
poorer quality straw6. The market of green and dry fodder is not yet developed.
Fodder seed supply is also an important constraint. Utilization and dissemination of
new technologies is highly limited.

Impact of Crossbreeding

Crossbreeding was introduced in India to enhance the milk, wool, egg and
meat production in the country. It involved crossing of females of indigenous breeds
with males/semen of exotic breeds.

The exotic breeds used for crossbreeding are:

Cattle Holstein Friesian, Jersey, Brown Swiss.

Sheep Merino, Rambouillet, Suffolk, Dorset, Karakul, Awassi,
Corriedale, SouthDown.
Goat Alpine, Saanen, Angora.
Pig Landrace, Yorkshire, Hampshire, Boer.
Chicken White leghorn, Cornish, Plymouth Rock, Rhode Island Red,
Australorp, New Hampshire
Duck Khaki Campbell.

Population of crossbred cattle15 has shown an increasing trend with an annual

growth rate of 5.73% between 1992 and 1997 as compared to -1.14% in indigenous
cattle during the same period, indicating a gradual substitution of indigenous cattle
by crossbred cattle. There are regional variations in adoption of crossbred cattle.
The major states adopting crossbreeding were Kerala(79%) Punjab (69%), Tamil
Nadu (39%), Haryana (35%) and Jammu & Kashmir (34%). The farmers maintain
mainly Holstein Friesian crossbreds. High protein diet consisting of green fodder and
concentrate, and health care are provided to these crossbreds. In sheep also,
growth in crossbred population15 was much faster as compared to indigenous
animals (5.22% vs 2.37% per annum).

The average yield1 per cross bred cow is 6.46kg as compare to 1.89 kg from
indigenous cow(1998-99). Crossbreeding to evolve new breeds of quality wool and
meat in sheep, and meat and milk in goats was undertaken. Australian Merino
crossbreds are prevalent in Jammu & Kashmir, and Russian Merino/Rambouillet
crosses in Himachal Pradesh. The crossbred strains produce fine quality wool with
average fiber diameter ranging between 19 and 23 and medullation percent
ranging from less than 1 to 20.

In spite of these gains, crossbreds have not been able to perform to the optimum
under field conditions. The crossbreds under field conditions, however, had high
incidence of disease and reproductive disorders due to which resource poor farmers
did not accept them.

The main reasons for under performance of crossbreds in the field are:

Non-adaptability to local agro-climatic conditions.

Non-availability of quality feed and fodder.
Poor resistance to tropical diseases.
Genetic instability of crossbred animals.
Poor draft capacity
Low price for milk because of low fat
Reproduction problems
Non availability of superior crossbred males.

Some superior Indian breeds have been used in various parts of the country for
upgradation of local animals. These are

Cattle Kankrej, Gir, Sahiwal, Red Sindhi ,Hariana

Buffalo Murrah, Jaffarabadi ,Surti
Sheep Nali, Magra, Mandya, Nellore, Chokla, Patanwadi
Goat Jamunapari, Barbari, Beetal, Sirohi

The State of Conservation of AnGR

The extent of importance of these factors depends on species, breed and

location. Some of the native breeds showing declining trend in population and
require conservation efforts for their improvement and sustainable utilization are:
Cattle: Vechur, Punganur, Sahiwal, Red Sindhi, Krishna Valley, Amritmahal
Buffaloes: Toda, Bhadawari, Nili -Ravi
Sheep: Bhakerwal, Gurez, Karanah, Poonchi, Niligiri, Pugal, Magra, Shahbadi
Goat: Jamnapari, Beetal, Surti, Ganjam
Horses: Marwari, Kathiawari, Zanaskari, Spiti
Chicken: All native breeds except Aseel
Duck: Nageshwari.
Camel: Sindhi, Mewari, Double humped camel

Trends and Future use of AnGR

The utility pattern of different domestic livestock species has slightly changed.
More emphasis has been noticed on milk production from cattle and buffaloes. A
shift from draft to milk has been seen in cattle in the recent past and animals were
brought for stall-feeding from grazing due to shrinkage in grazing land. The farm
mechanization especially in prosperous states like Haryana and Punjab has reduced
the draft utility of cattle and buffaloes. The combination of species being used by
farmers is more or less unchanged. However, the increase in population of buffalo
has been more as compared to cattle during the last decade. The effect on overall
food and agriculture system has been recorded in terms of increased milk, meat and
egg production. Cross breeding with exotic cattle breeds, selective breeding in
buffalo, sheep and goat and establishment of cooperatives and breed societies for
marketing of milk are the main factors for increasing animal production and
productivity in the country.

The advancement of technologies and methodologies has improved the use

of AnGR in India. In recent years different disease diagnostic, cheaper and adequate
vaccine production by using methods of molecular biology, bio-technology and the
reproduction methodologies like A.I (and ETT) as tools to implement breeding
programmes have been in use. In addition to this, the use of selection and breeding
methodologies for genetic improvement, production of balanced feed,
epidemiological studies and extension of technologies etc. have had a significant
impact on use of AnGR in terms of animal production. A marginal increase in
commercialization of domestic livestock husbandry and significant commercialization
in egg and broiler production has been noticed in the country.

Trends in international policies have not potentially affected the use of AnGR
in India due to large domestic market in the country itself. However, awareness
towards commercial animal keeping has increased in the recent past. This is likely to
affect the production system as well as production and productivity of animals.
Multinational companies like Nestle is working in the villages of state of Punjab for
hygienic milk production and quality assurance in dairy products; Venkateswara
Hatcheries in the area of poultry production. Some private resource rich farmers are
also venturing into intensive commercial animal production in view of changed
international policies of export and quality assurance of animal products.

Future production systems

Although subsistence farming dominates the animal production system in the

country, semi-intensive and intensive systems will play a enhanced role in meeting
the increased demand. Population increase, urbanization and income growth is
leading to increase in demand for food of animal origin. The per capita consumption
of food from animal sources is low at present as compared to the developed
countries. However, the demand has shown an increasing trend in the last three
decades by three times in meat consumption and more than double in milk

Though the production of milk, meat, egg etc. is increasing, the present subsistent
livestock farming may not be able to meet the increased demands in future. Livestock
enterprises with improved breeds/ strains under semi-intensive and intensive
management are likely to grow. However, small holder subsistent production system will
be the mainstay in livestock production at least for the foreseeable future. Given the
existing price incentives for higher fat milk, the buffalo population can be expected to
grow further.