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                           DR.PRABIR DUTTA

A billion people subsist on too little food to sustain their bodies or
futures.Animal resources can help millions of hungry people grow, sell
and eat more food. It can give their children a future.
The levers of change in rich countries over the last hundred years have
been technological. Spectacular scientific breakthroughs in the last
decade give us new means to solve age-old problems. We can tap the
immense development potential of the information, genetics and
biomedical revolutions to make them work for the poor.

The fight against poverty starts with rational use of available
resources. Among those most readily available to the world‘s poor are
farm animals. Livestock are lifelines and agents of change in every
developing country. Cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry
provide the poor with income, food, transport and fertiliser. They are
means to better lives. Better livelihoods. Better assets. Better health.
Better environments.
The Government of West Bengal developed some indicators for animal resources
development for self employment by animal resources’ productivity, veterinary sevices
availability and cultivation of greens for fodders.
On the basis of indicators developed for animal resources;distributed prizes district wise.
Indicators helped to identify the position of activities with animal resources in all districts
of West Bengal.

Milk production    Nadia               Burdawn        Hooghly
Egg production     24-Parganas(south) Murshidabad     Birbhum
Artificial         24-Parganas(north)  Nadia          Murshidabad
Animal health      Siliguri(Darjiling) Howrah         Nadia
Animal vaccination Howrah              Burdawn        Murshidabad
Green fodders      24-Parganas(north)  South Dinajpur Nadia
Best animal           Nadia                  Not found              Not found
resources & their

The indicators will help in judging what sort of programmes are needed in different
pockets of the state related to animal resources.


Keynes helped to come out from its crisis in the year 1920 by arguing
that it pays in long run to widen the demand net and minimize the
number of poor and unemployed.Growth is better seen as an economic
goal than an end in itself.

Cattle, sheep, goats and other ruminant animals are life-enhancing as
well as life-supporting in poor countries. Animals feed people and soils.
They generate incomes. They are the major capital asset of
smallholder farmers. They reproduce themselves under even the
harshest conditions. They are highly specialised eaters of grasses and
similar vegetation that grow not only on rangelands, which make up
two-thirds of the earth‘s agricultural lands, but also on and near
croplands. They convert these organic materials indigestible by people
into human food of the highest quality. They are the nutrient (manure
production) and financial (dairy income) crankhandles of smallholder
systems, acting as catalysts that jack up the viability and health of
those systems as a whole.

Nearly two billion people—a third of the world‘s population—derive at
least some of their livelihood from farm animals and nearly one person
in eight depends almost entirely on livestock. Livestock in developing
countries often contribute up to 50 per cent of agricultural GDP and
more than 20 per cent of total GDP. On smallholder farms worldwide,
livestock provide 20–60 per cent of household income.

Four-fifths of all people in Africa are farmers, and most of these are
subsistence farmers; for many of these people, ruminants represent
the single most important possession of the household. Ruminant
animals convert otherwise inedible stovers, straws, brans and other
crop wastes into protein-rich foodstuffs and other items for both home
consumption and sale. Meat is not the paramount product of livestock
in poor countries. It is taken only at the end of an animal‘s lifelong
output of manure, dairy products, young animals, traction and
transport. In remote areas and unstable economies, livestock are often
the most important and most reliable form of capital storage. ‗Animals
act as readily fungible financial instruments and yield substantial
interest in the form of both weight gains and new births‘ (Constance
Across Africa and much of the developing world, animal products are
an important source of disposable income. Where cash is severely
scarce, the sale of even a single animal can spell the difference
between life and death by providing cash with which to obtain
essential foods or medical care. The small daily income gained by
selling milk brings new opportunities to farm households, raising hopes
as well as living standards. Dairying, in fact, acts as a ‗cash crop‘—and
one that is heavily relied upon because it generates a more regular
income than most other enterprises available to the poor. In addition,
it is only the manure and draft power provided by livestock that allow
hundreds of millions of rural peoples to cultivate their staple food
crops, to cook their daily meals or to plaster and heat their homes.

Perhaps the most important characteristic of livestock is that, unlike
other agricultural products, they ‗are flexible: they can be moved in
response to variable rainfall conditions and can be purchased or sold in
response to variable market conditions. Mobility is what makes
livestock the ―bottom line‖ in so many peoples‘ shrewd risk and
resource allocation. As ―mobile production units‖, they can be deployed
so as to exploit non-arable areas and special ―patches‖ in the
landscape that would otherwise be of little or uncertain productive
value to humans‘ (Constance McCorkle).

Farm households must make nutritional as well as economic progress
to unlock the rural potential of developing countries. Livestock can
make an important contribution to the nutritional status and quality of
life of people who live on small-scale farms. More than a billion people
suffer from micronutrient malnutrition, which is successfully combated
by adding milk and meat to a diet. Evidence is mounting that the
essential role of animal-source foods in combating these chronic
problems has been overlooked or understated. Micronutrients found in
animal products such as vitamin B12, for example, improve the health
status of smallholder household members, enhancing the learning
abilities of children and development of their full potential.

Livestock-keeping empowers women in particular. Women in
developing countries often own livestock, particularly small stock,
when they are denied ownership of land. Rural women worldwide
typically participate directly or indirectly in some or all aspects of
animal agriculture. On farms without large ruminants, much of the
manual labour is done by women. (More than 90 per cent of African
farmers have little or no access to any mechanical energy but their
own muscles and those of their large animal stock.) In much of Africa,
women work hardest in the dairy business and often manage it as

It is difficult for a person raised in a materially rich country to
appreciate the kinds of assets accumulated by people in poor countries
living on the margin of economic respectability. In severely cash-
scarce environments, livestock-generated ‗micro-enterprises‘ and
‗micro-assets‘ allow people to plan for the future and see families and
communities through hard times, when prolonged drought or rain or
market fluctuations take their toll. Importantly, such livestock
enterprises also act as a ‗starter‘ that enables people to raise
themselves and their families from degrading poverty to low income to
middle class.

Being successful in a livestock enterprise, no matter how small, offers
new opportunities to families and communities living in material
poverty. With the hope that an animal generates in the milk, power,
manure and income it provides, people pursue new goals and, by
achieving them, enhance the quality of their lives.

So,a good index of animal resources‘production may be created to
develop a competitive mind even to the poor people for food as wellas
income security for poverty alleviation.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:The author expresses his gratitude to
International Livestock Reseach Institute and the news flashed in‖
DISHA‖-a publication of Indian Veterinary Association(West Bengal


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