Farmers of India are moving to buffaloes in place of cows. The farmer decision-making is largely influenced by the economic factors. Examine this in light of livestock policies of the country.

Published: June 28, 2019

India has the largest livestock population in the world and hence also the biggest milk producer in the world. But it is also the third largest bovine meat exporter to nearly 70 countries. There is a direct link between these facts as the farmers in India often sell their unproductive buffaloes to the open market and get almost 40 per cent of the total original investment as the termination value. There has been a ban on cow slaughter for many years which has only become more pronounced since 2015. The fact of the matter is that there was rampant cow slaughter before 2015 and the meat was later exported. The truth, however, remains that what was slaughtered was not cow meat butt buffalo meat. Since decades a majority of the animals which were spent were sent to either Bangladesh or Myanmar. Nearly trade of around 25-28 lakhs cattle occurred every year which is worth Rs. 20,000 crores. It was in 2014 when the government took a tough stance and put a ban on illegal trade keeping in mind the religious sentiments of people. It has been estimated that nearly 10 per cent of the country�s stray cattle become unproductive every year. The total production of cattle in the country is 250 million so finding stray cattle is very easy. Government has to revise the individual trade policies of the country rather than implementing a blanket ban on the same.

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