The NSSO report points out that only less than 2 per cent of total rural households depend solely on livestock
Livestock rearing, which is the lifeline of rural economy along with agriculture, is the main source of livelihood for Other Backward Class families in rural India.
According to the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) data, 2.17 per cent of OBC households are engaged in livestock farming followed by 1.67 per cent general households, 1.50 per cent of Scheduled Castes families and 0.75 per cent of Scheduled Tribes households.
However, the NSSO report also points out that only less than 2 per cent (2.7 million) of total rural households depend solely on livestock as most families go in for an integrated approach wherein crop production and cattle rearing go hand in hand.
Advantage big landowners
The report also says that households owning large farmlands derive higher income from livestock rearing in comparison to small-scale landholders, proving that cattle are an integral part of India’s rural economy.
Data show that 3.67 per cent of households owning large holdings (more than 10 hectares in size) derive a major chunk of their income from livestock rearing. Compared to this, only 0.70 per cent of households owning smaller land holdings (one to two hectares in size) get money from cattle rearing.
Among the states, Assam followed by Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana have the highest number of households which earn their major source of income from livestock.
The highest percentage of households reporting major source of income derived from SELF (Self-Employed Livestock Farming) is in Assam (4.27 per cent) and Punjab (4.08 per cent) whereas the lowest is in Uttar Pradesh (0.87 per cent) and Madhya Pradesh (0.85 per cent).
Among the households having a major source of income from SELF, the highest area owned per household is in Rajasthan (2.702 hectares) and the lowest area owned per household is in West Bengal (0.036 hectares).
The survey conducted in 2012-13 and released in 2014 shows that the country’s cattle population stood at 204.5 million at that period of time out of which 135.6 million were cows and 68.8 million buffaloes.
During the same period, the sheep and goat (ovine) population stood at 99 million. The number of ovine population per 100 households stood at 63.4.
The number of pigs was estimated at 5.8 million during the same period, accounting for 3.7 per 100 households.
Poultry was estimated as 254.7 million which was found to be 163.1 per 100 households.
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