(The post was written by Kennady Vijayalakshmy, a consultant scientist with ILRI in South Asia, with additional editing by Paul Karaimu, senior communications officer, ILRI)
On 11 October 2019, Habibar Rahman, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) regional representative for South Asia, met with Shri Giriraj Singh, minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Government of India, in New Delhi, to discuss the collaborative opportunities in livestock sector in India.
The discussion focused on how ILRI and the ministry could work better together to tackle challenges in India’s animal husbandry. The minister said the priority areas of the ministry include:
- identifying the disease-free zone for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD);
- nutritive evaluation of Moringa (Moringa oleifera) and its use as livestock feed and fodder; and
- genomics and genomic improvement of backyard poultry and dairy animals.
At the meeting, Rahman presented to minister Singh three projects that ILRI had submitted to the ministry for review. The projects are targeting (i) achieving a better understanding of the role of indigenous and improved backyard chickens for producers and consumers in India; (ii) moving the frontier of dairy development in India: identifying strategies for dairy value chain transformation in selected underserved milk sheds; and (iii) genetic and genomic improvement program of Gir cattle in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat State. Minister Singh showed interest in the improved backyard chicken production and genetic improvement program of Gir cattle and committed to discussing with concerned officials in the ministry to find ways of initiating and supporting the programs.
Among the key goals of the Ministry for Animal Husbandry and Dairying, which was formed in May 2019, is to double livestock farmers’ income by 2022 through genomic selection to improve indigenous animals and setting up of a national program to control FMD, brucellosis, peste des petits ruminant and classical swine fever.
Joykrushna Jena, deputy director general (Animal Sciences and Fisheries), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR); Vineet Bhasin, ICAR nodal officer for ILRI; and Praveen Malik, animal husbandry commissioner, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, were present during the discussion.
Read more about recent activities of ILRI in South Asia