Challenges of the Livestock Sector in IndiaThe importance of livestock sector in India can be felt by its contribution to the agricultural GDP and the national GDP. In 2014-15, the livestock sector contributed 25 percent to the agricultural GDP of India and 4 percent to the country’s GDP in the same year. However, the livestock sector is witnessing many challenges which are integral to the country’s livestock ecosystem. Following are some of the key challenges livestock sector is facing:Low productivity levelsIndia has world’s largest livestock population. It is home to 12.61 percent of world’s cattle population, 56.4 percent world’s buffalo population, but the productivity level is very low. If compared with the global dairy animals’ productivity, it is lagging far behind other nations. Table 6: India’s Share of Livestock Population in World PopulationLivestock Percent of World PopulationCattle 12.61%Buffaloes 56.37%Goats 13.35%Sheep 5.37%Horses 1.06%Camels 1.17%Out of total livestock population of India of 512 million, cattle constitute 37 percent. Crossbred cattle constitute only 21 percent of total cattle population. Rest 79 percent are indigenous and within indigenous, 25 percent are descript and remaining are non-descript. In crossbred, Holstein-Friesian and Jersey are found in the country. Hariana, Gir and Sahiwal are the major indigenous breeds of cow found in India. Among buffalo, Murrah breed constitutes 44.3 percent of total buffalo population. Figure 2: Species Contribution towards livestock population in IndiaThe table below show the productivity level of cow and buffalo in India and some other countries. Israel has the highest milk yield from dairy cow. It is pegged at 12,953 Kg per animal annually. India has only 1,592 Kg per animal annually. The low yield is also due to large number of non-descriptive indigenous cow which are pulling the average downward. Israel, USA, Denmark, Saudi Arabia and Sweden are the top countries with respect to cow milk productivity.Table 7: Milk yield in India and other selected countries (2016)Country Yield (kg/animal) Cow BuffaloIsrael 12953 NAUSA 10330 NADenmark 93672 NASaudi Arabia 92848 NASweden 87759 NAIran 3750 3109Pakistan 1125 2017India 1592 1865World average 2408 1709NA-Not available (Source: FAOSTAT)There is large variation in the productivity of dairy animals in the country. It can be seen from Table 8 that indigenous cows have very low productivity which is 2.83 L/day. Less productivity is claimed due to inadequate supply of quality feeds and fodder in addition to the low genetic profile of the Indigenous breeds. This can be considered as a good indicative for the growth and potential of livestock feed industry in India. Livestock feed industry is now transforming into an organized sector. The organized feed industry in India is mainly restricted to dairy and poultry feed manufacturing. Table 8: Average yield of Dairy animals in India (2016-17)Livestock Species Milk Yield (L/day)Cross-bred Cow 7.52Indigenous Cow 2.83Buffalo 5.25Goat 0.46 Shortage of Feed and Feed QualityFeed shortage and feed quality continue to be a limiting factor to improve animal productivity. It is estimated that at the national level, by 2020, there will be 11 percent shortfall in dry fodder, 35 percent in green fodder, and 45 percent in concentrates (CLFMA, 2014). Crop residues in the form of dry fodder represent the largest feed component, but tend to be low in nutritive value and hence cannot support high levels of production on their own. The use of concentrates in the form of oilseed cakes, grains or compound feed remains low though it is slightly higher in the more commercial dairy farms particularly in the leading states. In the lagging states and the small holders as well as where animals are sent to pasture for grazing, where crop residues and green fodder from public pastures are the main sources of feed and fodder, both spatial and temporal scarcity of feed are quite high. The quality of public pasture has also deteriorated due to overgrazing.