Sustainable Livelihood Through Small Ruminant Production
Critical issues and approaches

By CALPI - 2005, 19 pp

Summary: The paper focuses on critical issues and approaches related to small ruminants. Some of the critical issues highlighted are poor awareness regarding the importance of small ruminants in livestock system, absence or weak rearers associations and ignorance of small ruminant rearers in social organization. Various approaches to these issues have been addressed in this paper. Another critical issue emphasised is pressure on fodder resource base, wherein declining area of CPRs, low priority to common land development are discussed. Other concerns discussed in the paper are inadequate veterinary health, inadequate focus on genetic improvement, reduced access to credit and insurance, inefficient marketing mechanisms and poor inter-departmental coordination. Some interesting case studies concerning silvo-pasture intervention and Joint Forest Management in villages of Rajasthan, Ram lambs rearing and Malabari Goat Breed Improvement Programme (MGBIP) are discussed.

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Table of contents

1. Overview

2. Critical Issues and Approaches

(1) Poor Awareness Regarding the Importance of Small Ruminants in the
Livelihood System of the Poor

(2) Absence /Weak Rearer Organisations

(3) Pressure on Fodder Resource Base

(4) Inadequate Veterinary Health Services

(5) Lack of Adequate Focus on Genetic Improvement

(6) Reduced Access to Credit and Insurance

(7) Lack of Efficient Marketing Mechanisms

(8) Poor Inter-departmental Coordination

3. Other Approaches

4. Conclusion

5. Prioritised Plan of Action

Annexure 1: Silvo-Pasture Intervention in Village Pastures

Annexure 2: Silvo-Pasture Intervention in Forest Land

Annexure 3: Small Ruminant Development Programme

Annexure 4: Community Insurance as an Innovation for Local Self Reliance


Small ruminants are associated with the rural poor. They play a big role in supporting the livelihood system of the poorest men and women livestock keepers, especially in the marginalised areas. Inspite of its livelihood contribution and contribution to the livestock economy, this sub-sector received only diminutive attention in the country.

This approach paper was evolved using the inputs received from a series of consultations and a multi-stakeholder workshop participated by representatives from the Department of AH & D (Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India), the Central Institute for Research on Goats, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research, Indian Institute of Management, NGOs, technical experts and representatives from SDC, IC and its Projects in Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.

The material provided here does not cover all issues in small ruminant development. It introduces the readers only to the most critical issues involved in small ruminant production and suggests suitable approaches and strategies to improve the livelihood of small ruminant rearers through a sustainable framework.

This approach paper is addressed to policy makers, policy implementers, programme officers, farm managers and other individuals and organizations in the government and non-government sectors concerned with small ruminant rearers. The audience also includes officials in the ministries and departments as well as representatives of Panchayats and civil society groups.

We hope that this approach paper would be found useful by the intended audience, especially the policy makers, planners and implementers in translating the approaches into programmes and activities for the socio-economic upliftment of the small ruminant rearers on a sustainable basis.

While inviting your feedback and suggestions on the approaches suggested, we request you to kindly use this material in all possible ways to promote discussions in different platforms in your circle so as to integrate the livestock of the poorest in the development programmes in line with the approaches suggested.

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