Economics of animal rearing can help to a great extent in doubling real incomes of farmers by 2022. However, there is a need to remove the anti-farm bias by recognizing incomes from allied sectors as farm incomes. Explain.

Published: December 30, 2016

India has the largest stock of dairy animals and is the world’s largest producer of milk.
Animal rearing and allied sector can bring in prosperity for farmers and double their income by 2022 due to following reasons:

  1. Of late growth rate of livestock farming has been more than that of food crops. 
  2. Livestock is more resilient during droughts and is not affected by monsoon variability.
  3. Meat and dairy products are less fluctuating as compared to food crops. Government does not need to provide Minimum Support price for animal products.
  4. Demand for animal products has more elasticity with income. 
  5. Distribution of ownership of livestock is more egalitarian as compared to land ownership, which is highly skewed.

Today Livestock breeding is recognised as the engine of agricultural growth and government has rightly initiated various programs for this sector. In cattle rearing, it has initiated programs such as National Dairy Plan Phase I, National Program for bovine breeding and dairy development and Dairy Entrpreneurship development scheme. In fisheries sector, programs include Development of Inland fisheries and agriculture and National Scheme of Welfare of Fishermen. 
Currently farm income is not taxed. And ‘farm income’ does not include income from allied activites of livestock rearing, fisheries and forestry. In order to put the bet on winning horses, government should also treat income from these sectors as part of ‘farm income’. This will also help in alleviating miseries due to drought in areas such as Marathwada, Vidarbha and Budelkhand.

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