The National Conclave of Pastoral youth drawn from 16 states converged at Bhuj, Gujarat to discuss their aspirations, challenges and the need for policy discourse with the government. Pertinent to note that Sahjeevan – Centre for Pastoralism holds the lead in piloting several interventions in the sector for the extensive livestock production system. Notable being the camel milk procurement, pastoral breed recognition, conservation of pastoral breeds, artisanal cheese manufacturing with community entrepreneurs etc.
Parshottam Rupala, Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying has initiated the necessary dialogue and the following initiatives in the larger interest of the Extensive Livestock Production system:
- Inclusion of Pastoral census as part of the national livestock census;
- Creation of a Pastoral Cell within the MoFAHD to focus upon the issues;
- Initial exploration for including extensive livestock production system related schemes and programmes within the National Livestock Mission
It is expected that indigenous wool for acoustics and thermal insulation in the built environment, and the use of wool in the storage and transport of temperature sensitive perishable goods including the institutional interventions for non-bovine milk will find mention in the future initiatives. National Mission on Indigenous wool, Creation of institutional platforms for marketing of non-bovine milk (goat, Sheep, donkey & Yak), Providing identity to the pastoral population and ease of doing business for the pastoral dairy landscape is very much on the cards.
Estimates of the number of pastoralists in India vary widely. Official data on livestock at present do not reflect the management system used. It has been understood that the extensive livestock production system relies on common-pool resources to maintain their animals. A wide range of pastoralist systems exist, from fully mobile to transhumant and sedentary. Species maintained in mobile systems include camels, cattle, ducks, donkeys, goats, pigs, sheep and yaks.
Many pastoralists are members of traditional castes, but other groups, known as “non-traditional pastoralists”, are also engaged with mobile herding. Extensive livestock systems produce a major share of India’s milk and meat. The animals’ manure is also a vital source of fertiliser for crop farmers; for many pastoralists manure is their main source of income.