Livestock Position Paper

Rearing livestock in dry land regions has been developed by pastoralist communities over centuries and it is a complex Social–Ecological System (SES) with sub–systemic linkages, knowledge systems and institutions that maintain the resilience of dry land ecosystems. The Indian livestock sector contributes for 40 percent to the agricultural GDP in the semi-arid regions and 70 percent in the arid regions. However, transitions from traditional extensive livestock production to intensive and industrialised production are taking place.

The approach of “sedenterization” with a blinkered focus on increasing production of milk and meat which intends to alleviate rural poverty and conserve the degrading natural resource base is now posing serious ecological challenges.

The poorest and most vulnerable people will be the worst affected. The possible effects of climate change are not limited to agriculture and food production, but will also have serious effects on livestock production.  Apart from creating new impacts on livestock production, climate change is expected to exacerbate the vulnerability of communities inhabiting these fragile regions further. Within this context, this position paper in progress based on findings from WOTR’s project areas brings out a proposition that intensification of livestock production may not be a sustainable option for fragile ecosystems.  Having said this, the paper urges the need to clear certain areas of prejudice and to have special policy measures for livestock production in dry land regions of the country as climate change is here to stay.

Position Paper