Trafficking or Unremunerative? Odisha records biggest dip in Cattle population in country!

Goat and sheep rearing have also witnessed a decline. The only bright spot in Odisha has been a rise in the poultry population

Bhubaneswar: A major upheaval to the fore in Odisha’s animal husbandry sector. Within a span of 7-years, the populations of cattle, goat and sheep in the State have posted a decline.

However, what raises an eyebrow is the biggest dip in cattle population in country has happened in Odisha.

And the big poser here is: has cattle rearing turned unviable in Odisha or has the largescale cattle trafficking played the spoilsport?

As per the 2019 Livestock Census released recently, Odisha has recorded the largest decline in cattle (cows & bulls) population in the country. Goat and sheep rearing have also witnessed a decline. The only bright spot in Odisha has been a rise in the poultry population.

The cattle population in Odisha in 2019 stood at 9.9 million from 11.6 million in 2012, which is a decline of 15 per cent – the highest in the country.

The steep fall in cattle population in State could well be ascertained from the fact that Odisha has slipped to 10th in 2019 from 7th in the country  in 2012 .

Significantly, when the animals in-milk of indigenous cows have risen from 1.39 million in 2012 to 1.8 million in 2018, the proportion of such cows in exotic or crossbred breed have posted a lower growth to touch around 3.96 lakh.

The above analysis suggests the steep fall in cattle population in Odisha is attributed to decline in bull population. And the big poser here is: Is the large scale illegal cattle trafficking from Odisha a big reason behind fall in bull population?

Other major grim findings of the 2019 Livestock Census are the goat population in Odisha dipped to 6.39 million from 6.51 mn in 2012, and the sheep population fell to 1.3mn from 1.6mn in 2012.

A dip in population of major livestock species in Odisha signal an ominous portends for the Allied sector in the State’s economy.

It is the Economic Survey 2018-19 tabled in the House this year that has explained how a dip in livestock population could mar State’s this growing sector.

Significantly, around 85 per cent of livestock is owned by the landless, marginal and small landholding families in Odisha. As it is not vulnerable to natural disasters like cropping, this sub-sector has been a significant alternative source of income for landless, small and marginal farmer households.

How it will affect State economy?  As per the Eco-Survey – 2019, livestock rearing had witnessed significant growth in GVA (Gross value Added) and share in agricultural GVA in Odisha. The sector is the second largest contributor to agricultural GVA with a share of over 16% in 2017-18 and 2018-19 (at current prices).

The sub-sector had witnessed a growth rate of about 7.5 per cent in 2017-18, up 3 per cent over 2016-17. Even, the Advance estimates (AE) for 2018-19 reveals that the sector with 11.7 per cent growth rate has witnessed the highest growth of four sub-sectors in the year.

The Bright Spot: The population of poultry in Odisha zoomed 38 per cent to touch 27.4 mn in 2019. Poultry, Cattle and goat farming are  predominant in State’s allied farming activities.