Crop-Livestock / India / Livestock / Livestock-Water

Farmers identify water as a main constraint to livestock keeping in India

As part of the CGIAR Systemwide Livestock Programme (SLP) supported crop-residues project, the International Livestock Research Instiute (ILRI) held a Stakeholder Workshop and Farmers’ Feedback Workshop from 11-18 June 2012  in Udaipur, India. These meetings provided an opportunity for all involved in the project to review the lessons learned and progress made so far during SLP, and served as a platform to discuss future plans for the communities ILRI is working with as part of this program in rural India.

Farmers discuss future plans for livelihood development through livestock and farming in Palsepur Village at the CGIAR Systemwide Livestock Programme (SLP) Farmers’ Feedback Workshop, 12-15 June 2012, Udaipur, India (photo credit: ILRI/Braja Bandhu Swain).

Farmers’ Feedback Workshop 

The SLP Farmers’ Feedback Workshop ran from 12-15 June in the villages of Bheempur, Palsepur and Nall. These three were selected because of their prominence of crop residue use for mulch and feeding, and the main source of income being livestock. Facilitated by ILRI scientist Braja Bandhu Swain and senior research scholar at Maharana Pratap Agricultural University (MPUAT), Sandeep Kumar Sharma, farmer participation was at the heart of this workshop. The main objective of these four days was to validate with farmers previously collected data from the sampled households in each village, and to delve deeper for more qualitative information on patterns of crop residue use, constraints on livestock keepers, technology in place, and other basic information.

Local community members discuss research findings on crop residue use and livestock keeping in Nall Vilage during the SLP Farmers’ Feedback Workshop, 12-15 June 2012, Udaipur, India (photo credit: ILRI/Braja Bandhu Swain).

The workshop followed the same TIP (technology, institution and policy) framework that the SLP project has adopted for its final solution phase. Divided into two sessions, the researchers firstly presented their findings to the farmers for validation and feedback. The whole group then came together to exchange ideas and form plans for livelihood development through livestock and farming.

Water proves the main constraint among farmers for livestock keeping and indeed agriculture. Access to water can be improved if rainfall water is saved via small water dams. And, water can be used more efficiently though channelization. Due to a lack of knowledge and poor access to extension services, farmers struggle to achieve greater outputs of milk and grain. The Farmers’ Feedback Workshop was therefore very useful and will aid ILRI in formulating a policy brief for stakeholders on these issues.

Stakeholder Workshop

Following the Farmers’ Feedback Workshop, a Stakeholder Workshop was then held on 18 June 2012 at Amantra Comfort Hotel in Udaipur, Rajasthan. Key participants included Deputy Director of the Department of Animal Husbandry, Udaipur, S.K. Pathak; Deputy Director of Agriculture (ATMA), Sudhir Verma; veterinary officers from Gagunda and Sarada; researchers; representatives from NGOs BAIF Development Research Foundation, Sahyog Sansthans, Seva Mandir, and Society for Promotion of Wastelands Development (SPWD); and farmers from the three participating villages in Udaipur. The aim of this event was to gather feedback and review SLP survey results with a range of stakeholders, to encourage farmers and stakeholders to identify major challenges and solutions on site, and outline key messages on research and development for policy makers.

Research findings were presented and afterwards discussed among all of the participants. The group came to a consensus that:

  • more effective irrigation management;
  • better access to inputs;
  • access to improved extension services on livestock and agriculture;
  • and more availability of good quality seed could make livestock systems more productive.

This would, in turn, have a positive impact on the livelihoods of the farmers in Udaipur, India.

Participants discuss identification of the root cause of poor extension services in rural Rajasthan and potential solutions at CGIAR Systemwide Livestock Programme (SLP) Stakeholder Workshop, 18 June 2012, Udaipur, India (photo credit: ILRI/Braja Bandhu Swain).

Next steps

Braja is currently writing up a report based on the outcomes of both the SLP Farmers’ Feedback Workshop and Stakeholder Workshop. Based on this report, ILRI will then publish one policy brief for each region in October 2012, with the SLP project in India drawing to a close at the end of the year.

Read more about the CGIAR Systemwide Livestock Programe

Visit the SLP website at

3 thoughts on “Farmers identify water as a main constraint to livestock keeping in India

  1. Dear Braja

    In a water stressed area if water is made available (say. for example at a cost), the first priority of the farmer will be to go for cropping and feed the livestock with the residue. In terms of energy use also this is much efficient than cultivating fodder to feed livestock. That is why livestock gains relevance in areas where cropping is not possible or difficult.


  2. Yes sir you are right that if water is made available, the first priority will be cropping followed by livestock. Definitely where cropping is difficult there is relevance for livestock gains. However, it is difficult to intensify the system without better cropping system because in small farming system both livestock and crop are complementary not substitutes.

  3. In a country like India the dependency on rain water is the most, though there are lots of efforts made to use ground water and artificial cloud seeding. But rain water still remains the major source and effects the small farming for both crops and livestock.

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