India now has 212 indigenous livestock breeds after ICAR-NBAGR registers 10 new ones

The 10 new breeds included three new cattle, one buffalo, three goats and three pigs

By Shagun
Published: Thursday 05 January 2023
ICAR-NBAGR registers 10 new indigenous breeds, total number goes up to 212
Photo for representation. Source: iStock Photo for representation. Source: iStock

In the last one year, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has registered 10 new breeds of livestock species, including cattle, buffalo, goat and pig. This has taken the total number of indigenous breeds to 212 as of January 4, 2023. 

The registration was done by ICAR-National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR). The registration process involves identification and surveying of these breeds through visits to the native areas. 

The 10 new breeds included three new cattle breeds (Kathani, Sanchori, Masilum), one buffalo breed (Purnathadi), three goat breeds (Sojat, Karauli, Gujari) and three pig breeds (Banda, Manipuri Black, Wak Chambil). 

Purnathadi buffalo is found in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. The population of Kathani, a dual purpose cattle, is also distributed in the region. It possesses good draft ability and is suited to marshy land for paddy cultivation. 

Masilum is a small-sized but well-built and sturdy cattle of Meghalaya. Well adapted to the hill ecosystem, it is reared by the Khasi and Jaintia communities for sports, manure and socio-cultural festivals. Sanchori is found in the Jalore district of Rajasthan. 

Among goats, all the three new breeds are from different regions of Rajasthan. Of the new pig breeds, Manipuri Black is a native of Manipur, Banda is from Jharkhand and Wak Chambil is from the Garo hills of Meghalaya. 

Since 2010, this is the third highest increase in registration of indigenous breeds, after 15 new breeds in 2018-19 and 13 new breeds in 2019-20 were recorded. In 2010, there were only 129 indigenous breeds registered, called ‘extant breeds’. 

The identification and registration of indigenous breeds started only after 2010. Those breeds which are not registered or identified are called ‘non-descript’.

There is a need to identify new breeds, said DK Sadana, former head of genetic animal resources at ICAR-NBAGR, adding:

There are several breeds in the country which are yet not registered. These have good potential in terms of animal production. Their numbers are reducing and if these are not registered and taken care of, then they will go extinct. 

He is the founder of Indigenous Livestock Society and was involved with the registration process in 2022.

Indigenous breeds are better suited to climate resilience. These are more heat tolerant, have better immunity and disease resistance. But there is a declining trend in some of the indigenous livestock, especially cattle. 

In the 20th Livestock Census, while the population of exotic / crossbred cattle increased by 29.3 per cent,  compared to the 2012 Census, the population of indigenous cattle declined by six per cent. 

There is a big untapped potential of the indigenous breeds of cattle as well as buffaloes that also possess key adaptability characteristics to Indian climatic conditions.

Registration helps in breed conservation and promotion activities, as state governments get funds especially for these breeds, he added.

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