Women’s Role in livestock sector

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    In News 

    Recently , The need to recognise the role of women in livestock rearing was highlighted.

    About livestock sector 

    • Livestock is the primary livelihood activity used to meet household food needs as well as supplement farm incomes. 
    • It is emerging as the most important sector in the Indian agri-food system. 
      • Production and consumption of livestock products ( milk, milk products, meat and eggs) are increasing rapidly. 
    • The livestock sector is one of the most rapidly growing components of the rural economy of India, accounting for 5% of national income and 28% of agricultural GDP in 2018-19.
    •  In the last six years, the livestock sector grew at 7.9% (at constant prices) while crop farming grew by 2%. 

    Role of role of the woman

    • It has been observed that in rural household women are invariably engaged in animal rearing
    •  There were five million women members in dairy co-operatives in 2015-16, and this increased further to 5.4 million in 2020-21. 
      • Women accounted for 31% of all members of dairy producer cooperatives in 2020-21.
    •  In India, the number of women’s dairy cooperative societies rose from 18,954 in 2012 to 32,092 in 2015-16.

    Issues 

    • The M.K. the Jain Committee Report has highlighted that livestock farmers face greater challenges in comparison to traditional agricultural farmers especially while accessing credit and livestock insurance.
    • Women livestock farmers are not visible to policymakers, and one reason is the lack of gender-disaggregated data
      • Recent employment surveys such as the Periodic Labour Force Survey fail to collect data on specific activities of persons engaged primarily in domestic duties.
    • The reach of extension services to women livestock farmers remains scarce.
    • Women in poor households, without collateral to offer to banks, found it difficult to avail loans to purchase livestock. 
      • Around 15 lakh new Kisan Credit Cards (KCC) were provided to livestock farmers under the KCC scheme during 2020-22.
        • There is no information on how many of them were women farmers.
    • Women livestock farmers lacked technical knowledge on choice of animals (breeding) and veterinary care.
    • Women were not aware of the composition and functions of dairy boards and that men exercised decisions even in women-only dairy cooperatives. 
    • The voice of women from landless or poor peasant Scheduled Caste households was rarely heard.

    Initiatives 

    •  The Government has identified a slew of measures within the revised provisions of the Livestock Health and Disease Control (LH&DC) programme : a major focus has been on the ‘Establishment and Strengthening of Veterinary Services – Mobile Veterinary Units (MVUs)’
    • The National Livestock Policy (NLP) of 2013, aimed at increasing livestock production and productivity in a sustainable manner, rightly states that around 70% of the labour for the livestock sector comes from women. 
      • One of the goals of this policy was the empowerment of women
    • The National Livestock Mission (NLM) of 2014-15 was initiated for the development of the livestock sector with a focus on the availability of feed and fodder, providing extension services, and improved flow of credit to livestock farmers. 
      • However, the NLM does not propose any schemes or programmes specific to women livestock farmers.
    •  The policy proposes that the State government allocates 30% of funds from centrally-sponsored schemes for women. 

    Way Forward 

    • Women’s labour is critical to the livestock economy and It follows then that women should be included in every stage of decision-making and development of the livestock sector. 
    • We need to recognise the role of women in livestock rearing, and to include women in all facets of livestock development, be it breeding, veterinary care, extension services, training or access to credit and markets.

    Mains Practice Question 

    [Q] Women’s role in the livestock economy is not widely known .Discuss