Livestock Centric Project, Nagaur (Rajasthan)
India has 31.7 million hectare (11% of geographical area) of hot arid land, of which 62% is in the western part of Rajasthan state. In Rajasthan, these dry areas are supporting high population of 107 human 137 animals per square KM. The arid and semi arid regions of the states of the Rajasthan and Gujrat in India are characterized by low rainfall, low levels of economic activity, high incidence of land degradation, and a high concentration of rural poor. Low public and private sector investment especially in agriculture research and technology, low adoption rates of improved technologies, inadequate market linkages are some of the reasons in slower development of agriculture and allied sectors in the region. This, coupled with increased incidences of drought, has led to the poorer sectors of rural societies, the small producers, becoming even more marginalized in the region.
Livestock in these regions helps in moderating risks, provide resilience, diversify livelihood and can be migrated or liquidated during calamities. Livestock production systems in these areas are characterized by low productivity, low fertility, shortage of feed resources – especially green forage and greater dependency of resource poor farmers on livestock as a major source of income.A paradigm shift is needed in the approach for promoting livestock production systems in these regions. Conventional approaches aim at enhancing crop production systems which given the prevailing conditions in the region is risky and not adequately remunerative. Alternatively, the focus can be made towards strengthening livestock production as a central intervention and build other enabling conditions around this activity.
In view of the above, it is proposed to initiate a pilot study in Rajasthan with an integrated approach. The model developed could be replicated within similar agro-ecological conditions in India and elsewhere.
The aim of the pilot study is to demonstrate the viability of livestock production system(s) as a sustainable major livelihood contributor in arid eco region with effective harnessing of natural resources in an integrated manner.
Objectives : The pilot study would be taken up with the following major objectives.
- Develop appropriate livestock production system(s) in a cluster approach.
- Re-orient crop production systems in the study area for enhanced biomass production for livestock feeding.
- Enhance productivity of livestock through better feeding systems and efficient input delivery.
- Develop appropriate water conservation measures for increased water use efficiency.
- Improvement of common grazing areas/ community lands with innovative approaches.
- To provide value addition and suitable market linkages for livestock products to ensure remunerative prices.
Location of the Project
The pilot study would be taken in any one of the arid districts of Rajasthan. Tentative the study is proposed to be taken up in Nagaur district.
- A cluster approach involving 4-5 villages would be taken up for the study.
- A focused survey would be conducted for generating base line data on prevailing crop and livestock production systems, socio-economic profile and assessing potential interventions for livelihood.
- As the project would essentially be implemented on a community approach, community mobilization for creation of CIGs/SHGs/UGs etc. for different activities would be encouraged.
- Since water is the most critical natural resource in arid regions, appropriate water conservation interventions required in the project area would be developed.
- Greater emphasis would be given for promoting cultivation of cereal crops (especially coarse cereals) of suitable varieties having higher fodder to grain ratio.
- Innovative approaches to be adopted through Silvi- pasture and horti-pasture for improvement of gochar (community grazing land) and waste lands
- Promotion of fodder/ fodder tree cultivation on field bunds, common lands etc. Cultivation of spineless cactus as livestock feed which is ideally suited for arid regions would be introduced.
- Focus would be made on productivity enhancement (milk, meat and eggs) through improved breeding, feeding and health coverage approaches.
- Having efficient input delivery system especially for Artificial Insemination (AI), health coverage and concentrate feed supply is critical for improvement of livestock production systems. Locally suited and workable models would be developed for effective and efficient delivery of various inputs.
- Through capacity building, setting up of micro enterprises, creating market linkages etc. Farmers would be encouraged for adoption of suitable value addition processes for ensuring higher economic returns for both livestock and agricultural products.
- Various governmental schemes (both developmental and NRM related) are being implemented.
- Efforts would be made for convergence/ dovetailing of these schemes in the project area for harnessing full potential of the schemes.
- The pilot study would be carried out in a consortia mode with NRAA providing overall facilitation and supervision
The project would be spread over a period of four years from the date of commencement.
- Livestock centric farming system model developed for adoption in other areas with similar agro-ecological conditions.
- Improvement in livelihood of farmers of the project area.
- New technologies for productivity enhancement in livestock adopted
- Effective harnessing of NRM and other developmental schemes for holistic development.
- Livestock systems as efficient coping mechanism against frequent drought situations in the area developed.
The project will be funded by the National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA), Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India based on the proposed activities and requirements of Consortium partners.