Livestock production is one of the important sources of livelihood of farmers in India. The increasing contribution of livestock, especially in the semi-arid and arid regions of India where crop husbandry has limited possibility and in poverty reduction is very well recognised.
The production systems are still largely dominated by rural based, crop-livestock integrated, smallholder, mixed farming systems that are ecologically sustainable.
Rapid depletion of natural resources, especially common property resources, partly due to growing human and livestock population and partly due to adoption of unsustainable production practices, have seriously affected the poor, marginalized and landless people, especially women, who have depended on these resources for their livestock and their own livelihood. The increasing demand for animal protein driven by rising incomes and changing dietary patterns has intensified the demand on natural resources.
Major livestock associated environmental issues in India are:
pollution from industrial and poultry production
increasing pressure on common property resources (grazing lands, forested land, water resources) in different agro-ecological zones
The objective of the Platform was to increase awareness on livestock and environment interactions and provide decision support to policy makers and other stakeholders within the region, the Livestock, Environment and Development Initiative supported the establishment of the India Platform
The LEAD India Platform was anchored to a network of six Indian NGOs, known as the LEAD Advocacy Network and was supported by the CALPI programme of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Inter Cooperation (IC).
The LEAD India Platform had two major functions – advocacy and communication.
The LEAD India network partners were located in 6 states and actively engaged in bringing together various stakeholders at the State and National level to dialogue in order to exchange ideas, understand LEAD issues and identify hotspots. Also to develop strategies to mitigate negative impacts and enhance positive interactions of livestock on the environment and advocate systematic integration of livestock in watershed development programmes.
It promoted networking among civil society organizations, Government departments, research institutes and others to achieve the LEAD objectives on a larger scale.
This advocacy function was taken up by the LEAD Advocacy Network, which was an open and inclusive network, where all individuals or organisations interested in the LEAD India network agenda could join for collective action.
Several livestock-environment issues in India warranted greater attention by policy makers, researchers, watershed practitioners, etc.
A number of electronic and non-electronic communication media, electronic discussions, newsletters, workshops, etc., were deployed to accomplish this task.
This communication function of the LEAD India Platform was managed by the Centre for Environment Education (CEE).