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Strengthening Small-Ruminant Based Livelihoods - National Concluding Workshop

by ruchita last modified Feb 05, 2016 10:19 AM

Jan 16, 2016

In furthering its objective of building knowledge and capacities, and influencing policy and programmes aimed at promoting smallholder goat and sheep-rearing, SA PPLPP once again brought together a cross-section of stake-holders under one roof on 12 January, 2016, in collaboration with the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Government of India, at a national workshop on “Strengthening Small Ruminant Based Livelihoods”, in New Delhi.

Pashu Sakhi Saraswati from Nagaur in Rajasthan with dignitaries

The workshop was attended by over 70 delegates, representing over 12 states and Union Territories and 35 organizations, who deliberated on the issues and policy recommendations which emerged in the course of national and regional consultations across the country in the course of a year. The workshop ended with 12 Pashu Sakhis from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan being awarded honorary membership of the prestigious Goat and Sheep Farmers’ Welfare Association

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Shyam B Khadka, FAO Representative in India, stressed on the importance of small ruminants in dryland farming and shaping climate resilient livelihoods. He said that goats and sheep offered an effective risk mitigation strategy to small and marginal farmers, especially in rainfed regions, and were an integral element of dryland ecosystems. While underlining the importance of community animal health workers, he said that in replicating and upscaling the models demonstrated by SA PPLPP, the centrality of women in the success of the pilots should not be forgotten.

On the dais (L to R): Ms Varsha Mehta, Team Leader, SA PPLPP; Mr Sanjay Bhoosreddy, Joint Secretary, NLM, DADF, GoI; Ms Purvi Mehta Bhatt, Senior Advisor and Head - South Asia, Gates Foundation; Dr Suresh Honnappagol, Animal Husbandry Commissioner, DADF, GoI; Dr P Blahwar, Joint Commissioner - Poultry and Small Ruminants, DADF, GoI; and Dr A J V Prasad, Joint Secretary-Livestock Health, DADF, GoI

Ms Purvi Mehta Bhatt, Senior Advisor and Head – South Asia (Agriculture) at the Gates Foundation, said that livestock, particularly small ruminants, is an extremely important sub-sector of agriculture, adding that 83% of India’s livestock is found in the mixed farming system, where crops and livestock are reared together. Stating that the Foundation was one of the largest development donors in the world, she mentioned that they had pledged four large investments in small ruminant sector in the year 2015, including Project MESHA, to be implemented by the Aga Khan Foundation (India). Sharing that the design of the project had benefitted immensely from SAPPLPP, she said that the benefit of a programme such as SAPPLPP is seen in terms of its spill-over effect in influencing donor strategy and programme investments.

Chief Guest Dr Suresh Honnappagol, Commissioner, Animal Husbandry, GoI, said that we were deliberating on the importance of “life stock” for sustaining future life, which requires healthy animals, good germplasm and good marketing networks. Stating that market linkage development is a key concern, he shared that the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation is contemplating development of a computer-based platform, called the National Agriculture Market, which could also benefit development of livestock markets. Congratulating the organizers of the workshop and appreciating the importance of such consultations, the Commissioner suggested that it would be useful to develop a comprehensive document on management practices of goat and sheep husbandry, covering aspects pertaining to health, biosecurity, breed, marketing, and so on.

Joint Secretary (Livestock Health), Dr A J V Prasad presented the importance of small ruminants in improving rural livelihoods, and concluded it with the message that disease control, prevention and eradication through comprehensive and systematic disease control programmes in small ruminants would transform the livelihoods of smallholder livestock-keepers; he stressed that coordinated efforts by all the stakeholders were necessary for the achievement of this objective.

Participants at the Workshop

In the course of the day, delegates shared outcomes of the four regional consultations held during the year; results and learnings from SAPPLPP pilot initiatives in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan; issues and challenges in development of small ruminant based livelihoods in different states; and emerging programmes aimed at developing small ruminant based livelihoods. An interesting finding from the SAPPLPP projects in MP was that the return on investment in the backyard poultry pilot project was more than three times that of the goat-rearing pilot, starting with similar investments in both pilots. Over a two-year term, the goat pilot had resulted in doubling of the goat population, and a 1.6 times return on investment from sale of goats; on the other hand, the poultry pilot had resulted in a 5.8 times return on investment, not counting the intangible gains in terms of empowerment of women, improved access to preventive veterinary services, convergence with local governance institutions, and so on. A major learning emerging from implementation of the pilots was the significance of investment in sustained capacity-building of Pashu Sakhis and livestock-keepers, and the need for combining services for goats with poultry or other livestock, for financial sustenance of the Pashu Sakhis.

Wrapping up the deliberations of the day, Mr Sanjay Bhoosreddy, Joint Secretary (National Livestock Mission), DADF, thanked all the delegates for their enthusiastic participation, and hoped that the deliberations among the stakeholders would continue in different forums and locations. Under his able leadership and missionary zeal, the department had facilitated organization of two national and four regional consultations within a year, bringing together delegates from the government, non-government and private sectors, highlighting the significance of small ruminants and poultry in poverty reduction, and achieving food and nutrition security.

Presentations of all speakers are available here: #